Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Saints Days

Tomorrow which is Wednesday, is Saint David's Day. And if you happened to be an inmate in Afon-Bedd there would actually be two March the Firsts, one for each of the Saint David's. It's sad I know but when it comes to having your own Saint's Day, Afon-Bedd saints can be kind of stubborn and there was cake involved, a whole thing and if you're interested, non-saints in Afon-Bedd don't get birthday cakes because if they did there'd be a birthday once or twice a week and that would stress the budget.

One other detail worth mentioning is that when our hero was engaged in the life patterns of Afon-Bedd the definition of what it was to be mentally incompetent followed the old rules. Then as a result of budgetary constraints of the last thirty odd years that definition was changed. This meant that today there are more nutcases wandering around than there were in something like 1974. And, while this may be my own personal view, I think some would agree that this redefinition may have been a grave error of judgment.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Smoke and Cottages

So much for the harping on about this and that, wandering around the issue, debate, long discussions, our hero is in a vehicle with JH Woolley and he can smell smoke. Now the question for the endless nights of argument is whether this smoke will result in another fifteen or sixteen chapters to Vestry of Monnow. Odds are discipline will be tossed out the window, shape and form will be gone and there'll be no end in sight by this time next year.

In the exploration, does this matter? Not really. In the distant past your writer of pulp when considering book seven made a note in pencil which I clearly reads "Weekend Cottages." Granted I've settled considerably since that note was written, and I know this because I can read it. And If I recall Vestry of Monnow, when all the bits of it are moved aside was about a fire that burned down a weekend cottage. So we're just going to have to follow the smoke and find out who's to blame.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

....who travelled with you

"Here's to Cisco and Sonny and Lead Belly too and to all the good people who travelled with you." It's an ill remembered line from "Song to Woody" a poem written by the Folk Singer Bob Dylan. Toward the end of the poem Bob Dylan reminds Woody that he's "been doing some hard travelling too." And the trouble with Bob Dylan is that he entered the castle where he disappeared. I'd prefer to think he was sucked in by the vortex of Capital than thought of his fame, his wealth and his success as reward. 

As a rugged individualist what other reward could one expect, I hear the cry. And it's a very good question to ask on this Sunday in this particular age. In answer I could remember the Christian and the meaning of the Cross which despite rumor to the contrary was a sacrifice to a better world that would happen tomorrow not here in some kind of gated community. And I'd argue that when defining the rugged individualist there's more than one exemplar.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


Our hero never likes to be ignored and he's struggling a little. We all know why? And if you don't, I'll offer hints.

Nothing to do with playing chess with the technical device. It has more to do with the other thing that comes like a dark cloud

Friday, February 24, 2017


While returning from delivering the trash to the end of the lane I realized I had a problem with the word "Resist" and I realized that I was no longer just a common or garden old fart, I was a died in the wool old fart. The two things happened at almost exactly the same time, kind of like dominoes falling. By the time I had come to the end of a morning's digging, I'd already made speeches that would have sat well with someone like Attila or Nigel Tebbit or Winston Churchill or whoever that guy is from Texas who has the manners of a reptile, he was one of the several hundred GOP Presidential hopefuls.

Fortunately, while lying down resting the back, and I have to say I was feeling particularly saintly given the yards of turned earth I'd managed to achieve with just a very few cigarette breaks, it occurred to me that I'd spent a lifetime resisting one thing or another. Not talking jail time or any of that kind of heroic stuff, it's been more like sneering at people with rototillers weed-eaters, off road vehicles, shiny four wheel drive pick up trucks and careers around which all things including honesty have to be sacrificed. But with just a few years left on the coil of existence, why stop resisting now even if it does mean leaving home?

Thursday, February 23, 2017


The shovel has that sheen which suggests it's either been stored in a temperature and humidity regulated environment or someone's been using it. It's true that some of us can go on a little about their shovel, put it up there with the first born, deeds to property and Potato Rains.

But I have to say that a shining shovel in February round these parts might be an unusual sight. Then there's Quince merry with bloom, Forsythia not far behind, the Vowels are the size of Buffalo, there are Tics, the White Butterfly and even Creeping Grass roots are sprouting. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Policy and Stuff

In the minds of some Bird-dogging is probably a step or two away from stalking. The argument against it has to do with uncertainty. Send the bird-dogs into the bushes and goodness knows what might happen should those bird-dogs become suddenly unstable. They're out there unsupervised and off their leash. It's a disaster waiting to happen in front of the press who as everyone knows just loves a little chaos and anarchy, it's right up there with white girls who go missing and unflattering photographs of celebrities. Which means there are some who would argue that bird-dogs should be kept chained and the better behaved sometimes invited to snuffle around in something like a Town Hall.

Then there are other examples of bubble mentality such as "Winners make Policy, Losers go Home." Unfortunately if that was remotely true of any living thing, then according to whatever theory you wish to devote yourself to we people would still be living in Eden or we'd be an amorphous lump of disorganized goo or in my case I'd be a tree dweller adept at making nests and gathering fruit, kind of like Tarzan only not nearly as tall and very poorly manicured. A final thought surrounds a speech that includes the idea of a 4% annual growth rate being the single prerequisite to process that feeds and succors us people. Without it apparently all our hopes and dreams are pretty much doomed. To quote you know who 'Sad.'

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


There is often dispute, much of it justifiable, it was winter, it was cold and in the interest of staying warm large quantities of uncertain brandy had been consumed. Yet your correspondent will still insist that he once saw Marshal Tito in the back of a convertible Cadillac and not a Pink Elephant. The vehicle wasn't moving very fast, one of the rear tires needed a little air, he was standing up, a big strong brave man, he was wearing one of his uniforms, his head was uncovered, there was a wisp of snow on the roadside, he was smiling, he waved and some people waved back, not all of them by a long chalk, but some. Very certain he smiled at me and at the time I was a little worried about my expired papers so I smiled back.

Warm today, light cloud with sun, felt like end of May. The Artist was sparkling, I was pretty grumpy, but we took the trip to the town of Lawrenceburg to join with a crowd some of whom might have voted for Adlai Stevenson. And we did so to register our existence as in opposition to some of the recent decisions being made on our behalf by the Organs of State. But sadly in the land of the free you don't get to actually see your leaders in the flesh, smell them, get a sense of them, watch their eyes unless you're invited to take the test. Instead they arrive hidden in fast moving black vehicles the windows of which are so tinted you can't even see through them and then they disappear. Kind of rude you might think, but it's all about keeping them safe, apparently they're delicate. None the less I was able to chant "Ditch Mitch" a couple of "Two, Four, Six, Eight's" and a wonderful "Hey, Ho, Hey, Ho."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Popes, Facebook and Horsewhips

I probably have better things to do than this, but, the Chief Executive of Face book, as I understand him and his organization, have suggested that perhaps their Social Media Platform, a business model which has thrived upon income from advertizing, has contributed a little to a multiplicity of narratives many of which are unstably at odds with each other and some of which are so out of this world it's unreal. The result is a disharmony, a decline in civility, a lack of interest in civic organizations, a dramatic reduction in the appeal of a global world in favor of a xenophobic and insular world, an uptick in forces opposed to democracy and whole lot of horrible things that result when people live in bubbles that consist of only their friends, their friend's friends, it kind of goes on and if you're not careful you get Unfriended because you said something very sensible about people who don't like Sweet Potato. Or went on a bit about an entirely rational scientific theory that proves people with ginger hair are almost as bad as twins. Never actually thought about it before, but makes perfect sense to me, never liked ginger people or twins, and it is a scientific theory, so I was right all along.

One solution to this dystopian nightmare according to the chief executive of Face book is, as I understand it, a series of algorithms that will essentially attempt to promote a good story with a happy ending for us people, a sort of niceness, community, cooperation, democracy, equality, debate and civility and I suppose the list is endless. In short this algorithm will be like a Hall Monitor prowling around taking note of who has their hands in the pockets and sending them to the corner. It's the next step apparently, it's a new direction, it's big, a little megalomaniacal possibly, and details haven't been completely worked out, it'll be a more organic process, baby steps. Interesting how Hall Monitors in the Social Media Platforms of two hundred and sixty sixty Popes in a little under two thousand years seem to have failed miserably, who knew the solution was to be found in arithmetic. Still, all power to the man, just hope to God he doesn't run for President of something like a country. And should the sums not work out in quite the way they were supposed to I am volunteering my services as a real live walking talking Hall Monitor. I will of course insist upon being called a Priest of The Internet and I'll need a suitable outfit, I thought pajamas, smoking jacket and horsewhip. And yes, I'll be issuing edicts almost everyday and  I'll be selling forgiveness's to the relatives of wealthy advertisers

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bed Preparation

No idea why this is so difficult. And possibly it has to do with not keeping adequate notes. But bed preparation in the third week of January, just seems wrong, it seems unnatural and odds are it might never rain again, which would make the entire exercise pointless. Have to admit I was rather hoping to have at least two more weeks, possibly three, of what some call constructive winter projects and others might call sitting around thinking about horrible things to say about our current chief executive so as to avoid entering a terminal state of ennui the only cure for which is large quantities of alcohol chased with a morphine drip.

My own long term view for the species is essentially that we boys whose primary social skills were developed while chasing down the Woolly Mammoth, defending the cave entrance from Saber Tooth Tiger, beating up on neighbors with out of control domestic pets and general chest thumbing around things like massive weaponry, have had our time. Not saying we didn't do a good job of it, but we kind of run out useful reasons for doing what we do best about twenty thousand years ago and ever since boyhood has been more like a back to the caves make work project.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Nationalism is a devotion to one or other of the many nations on the planet, with particular reference to the nation's cultural peculiarities combined with the belief that nations benefit by acting independently of each other. This means that national rather than international interests dominate the agenda and there are some who have been persuaded that Nationalism is a simple, sometimes idiotic, solution to complexities in the world they have no desire to think too hard about.

Patriotism is a devotion to a country and this devotion is not based upon whether the country in question is chasing a nationalist interest or an internationalist interest.  The problem is when Nationalism and Patriotism are assumed to be the same thing. Heroes are either mythological divinities who have things like magic swords, or they are mortal men and women of noble purpose who often end up getting killed. What "noble purpose" might be is entirely subjective, which is why hero's are for history books and stories.

Friday, February 17, 2017


The telephone is fully operational and has been for some days. There's a dial tone. Should the Artist or I be very desperate we can reach out, dial a number and deal with the consequences. More alarming is when someone tries to reach out to us, our telephone has started to ring again.

Neither the Artist or I are very good at or enthusiastic about making or answering telephone calls, and frankly I at least  enjoyed the couple of months of respite when for one reason or another no one could telephone here and there was a damn good reason not to even try answering the telephone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Roll on Tic Season

It's exciting! Potato Patch is one day away from being dug over. Could have finished it today, but what with one thing and another, it's too early in the year to strain the bones by subjecting them to anything like exuberance, or ambition around timetables that are calendar based, or anything stupid like hubris.

The only correct attitude for an elderly gardener is to hold fast to the idea of becoming a Mushroom that blooms very slowly from Snowdrop to the last of the Autumn Asters. Otherwise it's stuff like aches and pains, a great deal of moaning and groaning, possibly the emergency room. All the same, roll on Tic season!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Grace and Our Hero

Our hero is struggling with his understanding of Vestry of Monnow and so am I. Worth considering the act of redemption as a sacrifice, especially when the Lenten Rose Blooms. And what is to be sacrificed that might save the soul. I reckon the best thing to do is revisit the Heretics and Apostates of Christendom. More particularly a group who where given the name Antinomians. Essentially "By Grace alone, not by the laws of men." And when you think about it in a Church that once had a bit of a debate about the number of nails used to crucify the savior, any kind of schism can lead the mind to a confusion around definitions of soul and suggest that without schisms or factions the soul might not even exist.

The Antinomians took comfort from their understanding of Grace, the divine love bestowed upon them by The Almighty. It meant, as I see it, they'd resolved the Trinity by saying the only thing worthy of obedience was the part of them given freely by God. A recipe for chaos and anarchism amongst those for whom definitions were kind of central to order. The more practical minded saw the Antinomian Heresy as an excellent reason to argue for Freedom of Religion, rather than reach out to the old men for some kind of edict that would result in a good old fashioned pogrom authorized by heaven. Much, much more sensible was to draw the line between understandings of Grace and the organs of state. But as our hero keeps reminding his grandfather, "I'd rather be a shellfish than a saint."

Monday, February 13, 2017


Digging season is upon the shoulders of those who have strength, fortitude and a good woolly hat. Gloves help in this march to Potato planting time.

Not that fond of the "Ditch Mitch" motif for Lawrenceburg. It's a little aggressive. I thought something more like "Happy Birthday Addison, Didn't know The Senate was a retirement home." Too long perhaps.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Civic II

What does a Republic mean? It means that voters elect their representatives to the deliberative organs of state, and it means voters elect the head of state. And why do we need a state? So that decisions can be made to enable a society to function. Why even bother with voters?

Good question, and the answer is that without votes the great majority of people do not figure in or have anything to do with the decisions made by the state on their behalf. And what's wrong with that? The answer, with us people it's not the cream that rises to the top.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


One of our Senators here in Kentucky is a man called  Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr.  He's seventy five years old and by some reckonings he might not have had an idea of his own since becoming a Senator in 1984. One of those guys for whom being in power is really the only important thing he used to be a stalwart of the center and as those who voted for him got older and more frightened he moved further and further right. He's now what they call the Senate Majority Leader. And it's kind of fun to read the comments on his face book page.

On the other side, the new Senate Minority leader is a man called Charles Ellis Schumer. He was first elected Senator for the State of New York in 1998. He's sixty six now but don't worry he'll be sixty seven this coming November. He's not shy of the press, one of his colleagues once suggested it was dangerous to get between him and a camera. He's not one who leaps at the idea of taxing the rich, his campaigns are kind of financed by wealthy Democrats, but he's all for wealthy liberal type causes such as equal pay for women, or fifty three percent of the vote. And if you're wondering, the answer is yes, so long as we've still got votes we still live in a Republic.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Social Spheres

I wish I could remember the name of a thinker who made a big point out of how easy it was for social theorists, especially those in the grand theory tradition, to forget all about the day to day and its travails. And if the 'day to day' requires definition call it "everyday life and its practices." I think what happens is that the high flyers find that same solace many get from religion in building an idea around versions of the inevitable. It means they don't have to think too much and it turns something that makes no sense whatsoever into something that has to make sense because it's "just the way things are" and when it becomes increasingly apparent that things aren't quite what they're supposed to be according to the grand scheme, then obviously it's the product of an anomaly which has to be exorcised incase it prevents the inevitable which would be a disaster to those for whom the inevitable makes sense. Call it something like Maladies des Elites, to give it veritas, but probably easier just to think of it as an Old Man Having a Tantrum because the everyday no longer fits the story line.

Not certain, but I suspect this thinker was a German, might even have been an Austrian, and he could even be still alive. His other point as I understand it had to do with how to be empirical rather than being totally fantastic when it came to an understanding of us people. There used to be a school of thought that tried to place our many and erratic behaviors into categories so they could be rationally identified, explained and  everyone could relax. It fell out of fashion, primarily because it was very boring and depressing, and was replaced by a more neurological approach that experimented on people by essentially poking us with sticks and taking detailed notes of how we reacted. Oddly, and this is very shocking, all of us when put in pretty much the same circumstance, pretty much react the same way. Which is why understanding the value of grasping everyday life and its practices, and our reaction to it, is a central feature in any analysis of us people. Not so long ago the whole area had been massively simplified by asking one of our many and illustrious saviors whether or not they knew the price of a loaf of bread. These days, I suspect, everyone knows the answer they'll get and it still walks on water. I think it was Saint David of Wales who talked about the "little things" and that was a good few centuries ago. Habermas, that's his name.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bone Collecting

Not sure how many others suspect that the world of us people might have unstitched a wound that might take some healing. Feel the loss of integrity and honor, should that mean anything if it can be reconfigured to justify anything.

Pretty sure that many of us look upon this open wound as a moment of enlightenment and opportunity. The Piranhas and Hyena are kind of like that, they leave the field well stained and empty yet they're still hungry while the rest of us mourn. It's a well used plotline from those who sell handkerchiefs and outrage.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Chapter Something or Other

Our hero is off to the ordeal of Chapter something or other. Very certain there's a word for it that defies definition, but this particular part of Book Seven is about a Dog, a potential JH, our hero's legal representative or Chapter Six of Vestry of Monnow and a political officer or Book One of The Rabbit of Usk. So it's kind of melding, if you like, or possibly a desperate attempt to use a hot glue gun to stitch stuff together into a harmonious whole that avoids the wonderful and very expressive tag of prolix which does sound a little like a digestive tablet.

My own view as a wholly objective and totally impartial observer is that everything is going swimmingly, it's smooth sailing over choppy waters and the wind is variable. The odd suggestion from the back row that the Dog in Chapter something or other could well be unnecessary ignores the well known fact that Dog's reflect their owners in the Parrot in Cage sense. It's the Parrot's utterances that speak volumes. Nor would it be possible for a Parrot to be part of Chapter something or other. Two good reasons. A Parrot figures in Chapter Five of Vestry of Monnow and however eccentric the JH in question might be there's no way he'd take a Parrot on a fishing trip.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 7th

 In feel like terms, it was around a thousand years ago that the angelic host sang and a little star entered the firmament. It had all it's fingers and toes, it had a potential for good teeth and an adequate digestive tract, it was polite around the two or three dozen inoculations it received, it smiled occasionally and like all other little stars it struggled a little with the absurdities of being alive.

A little surprised to still be here, I guess that's what twinkling is all about. But the other big question for me on this day in February, while the odd thunder storm rolls through and the Crows cackle, is What Happened? In the end, as with all of us and despite those who will insist that making life miserable for the rest of us is central to their sense of achievement, the answer is not much of any great or lasting importance.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The French Presidential Election

France is poised for a Presidential Election. There are five parties, each party has a candidate, a platform and supporters. If no single candidate gets a majority in the the first round of voting then the two top polling candidates are faced with a run off election. This means that the President of France is elected by a majority of votes and should there be a run off election deals can be made by the two run off candidates with the other three party leaders and supporters so as woo votes. It's a system that makes sense to me, many will disagree, they'll call it a recipe for chaos. And in the interest of full disclosure, were I Frenchman, my bones would vote for Benoit Hamon, but my head would be tempted by Emmanuel Macron, and because I'm more like a Butterfly which way one I went for would depend on something as little minded as a hand gesture from Le Pen. I don't speak French hardly at all, so it's basically down to nuance for me.

In France, as with the rest of the Western World, there's a whole thing happening around what's loosely referred to as Globalization and the economic and political policies that have encouraged Globalization. In the Western World these policies are deemed by many to have resulted in inequities of wealth and access to power and a whole lot of cheap stuff in the shops that mostly gets thrown away so that more stuff can be made. It keeps us happy apparently. And too, people who are generally aggravated by their lot in life are often prone to the kind of thinking that looks to the past for solace, which requires a redefinition of what progress is and more often than not it all ends in a mess, a patriotic war of some sort that substitutes for stuff, and for incomprehensible reasons makes people feel better about themsleves. The year might, but living things do not live in circles, the slope is more like a straight line with a brick wall at the end of it and it's the kind of brick wall that just can't be thrown away.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Old Gods

I think it was Nemesis who objected to the young hunters scorn for those around him who thought he was rather wonderful. And I guess in those days an apothecary might have prescribed something like the gall bladder of an Owl washed own with bacon grease for something like hair loss. But it was Nemesis who had the brilliant idea of reflecting pool as a more lasting solution.

Worth remembering Nemesis was a Goddess, probably a ten on the super bowl boy scale of goddesses, and there's one story about her that suggests she might have pissed off Zeus, who was like the head Pooh-Bah up there in forever land, and to avoid his most masculine wrath, she turned herself into a Goose. Odd place, the world.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bread Aisle

If a person doesn't time it right they might get only as far as the bread aisles before falling on the wrong side of their impulses that usually follows an interlude resulting from something like a shopping-cart logjam. Then if that person retains an ounce of curiosity he or she will find themselves staring at thousands of cellophane wrapped loaves of bread wondering at the difference between white "Milk Wheat Bread" and white "Sandwich Loaf Wheat Bread." From what you can see of them through the ubiquity of packaging, they both look exactly the same. Everyone's different, I suppose, but if you happen to be something like a writer of pulp whose hero is often fed Beetroot Sandwiches for reasons related to plot, this sort of confusion isn't a good start to the Grocery Store experience. Not to mention the many, many thousands in our world who go to bed hungry and wouldn't give a damn whether it was Whole Wheat, Whitened Wheat, Pink Wheat or Sawdust Enhanced Cat Food ten days beyond the sell-by date.

Wrong timing is a grave error in almost any circumstance, and by the time you reach the meat products and collected body parts, trussed dog or whatever, a whole set of emotions have been set in play and you know very well that your super special shopping card that entitles you to an extra special percentage reduction on the cost of something like half a Orangutan is burning a great big hole in your pocket. Nor does a ten ton male on one of those battery operated shopping cart chairs staring at pork chops really enhance an attitude that supposes Ice Cream comes from the milk of cows who end up in a comfortable well appointed retirement field where they can yarn on about the old days when Milk Maids had warm fingers and Cats were given sticks of butter to cheer them up. None of this really helps the more sensitive shopper who might have risked hyperthermia while scraping ice off a windshield to spend good money on a couple of pints of Vanilla Ice Cream with which to celebrate eight years of writing these pages.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Cats and Ice Cream

There's not much notice to be taken of sunshine on a frigid day at this time of year unless you're a Cat and a pillow on a window ledge. They meet each other, become one with dreams while the Crows seek out last night's frozen corpses.

 A little concerned for the Towhee. They're doing that scratching around, sound like Elephants in the undergrowth, certainly can give me a start. Tomorrow will be double romper wear and three vests, so that ice cream might make more sense.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Nuff Said

The deeper the more objective professionals dig into our nature the more depressing we become as a species.

 The fact is, that without fantasies we'd all curl up, return to the fetal position and die of ennui. Just saying!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Swallow's Tail

There's an idea in Mathematics that goes by the name of Catastrophe Theory. If you think of a system, the mathematics defines the elements of the system and then describes or predicts what happens to the system when it confronts an abrupt change. Dali took an interest in the subject and he had a whole series of drawings devoted to the theory. The drawing that sticks is his drawing of a Swallow's Tail.

It was kind of nice, I'm told the elements of the tail followed the patterns described by the mathematics and there was a sense that so long as those elements were there, the creature could dart through the sky in ways that were wholly unpredictable, and yet retain it's integrity as beautiful. Entirely possible Dali had something completely different on his mind, but don't we all.