Sunday, April 30, 2017

Food

The omens for an internet outage are shall we say "ominous." All the signs are there. High humidity, early July temperatures, intermittent hazy sunshine with the occasional chair rattling gust between sinister cloud formations, Summer Tanager yelling like a mental patient, and the Girl Cat is very much on edge. She wants to go outside, but can't actually make it through the door, it's a confusion in her over the question Why and it's a confusion I share, understand completely just how few days there are in the year when the outdoors hold any true appeal for those of us who don't have the good fortune to be members of the genus Fungi and have to show our faces every single day of the year.

But some of us have to go outside, not because we want to but because on the off chance that rain falls in the next two, three days, these conditions are perfect for warming the ground in preparation for seed germination. Okra, Beans and a whole bunch more Carrots which apparently are good companions to Tomato, it's a good theory even if it might be the kind of nut eater science currently running rampant through the corridors of power, that hothouse for Fruit Flies. And this time next week of course there could well be a frost and if not frost an outbreak of Cutworm, ravenous Vole, angry Doves or that sooty pox bloom that puffs something very close to Bubonic Plague. A lot to be said for indoor-outdoor carpeting or an attic above a second hand bookshop.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gibbon

In the year 1760 something, Edward Gibbon was stricken by a vision. He was watching barefoot Christian monks at evening prayer in what had once been the Temple of Jupiter in Rome. Nor was he a great believer in stuff like miracles, his quarrels had led him toward the more rational theology that always struggles to accept the idea of a Divine Mystery, so I guess seeing the monks at worship in a temple once dedicated to the Roman God of Thunder might have presented him with a sense that in our species worshipping the irrational had an eternal provenance.  His vision was to write a history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire on the understanding that he would attempt to answer the question why that empire declined.

I guess in almost every respect Gibbon's adventure was an "Arc Exploration." And here I don't mean Arc in the Noah sense, I mean Arc in the sense of lighting the fuse of a rocket, following into the air and back down to earth again and there where it lands finding what may or may not be a pot of gold. Gibbon's pot of gold, his answer to the question, was vague but his Arc was an account, in my view, of a long series of power hungry lunatics whose sole sense of purpose was to destroy rival egos in pursuit of self enrichment. It took a long time for the Roman Empire to divide and crumble into the history books, its artifacts worshipped, its administrative structures emulated, its language given the attributes of a Masonic handshake. On the bright side the Scary Compost Pile is 105 degrees of Fahrenheit and rising. That's what's called huge where I live.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

End Times

The last President is to be paid $400,000 to speak to the disgustingly wealthy. Think what you will, but I'm very certain the National Weather Service has also been taken over by a horsemen of the Apocalypse. It rained last night and there was no forecast for rain, or anything like rain. Always a chance the National Weather Service might have erred, but I doubt that. Much more likely there's a cabal of climate change deniers altering the numbers to please their masters in the hose pipe manufacturing industries.

No accident that yesterday there was a message on the answer phone from a purveyor of automatic irrigation equipment, easy payment plan and satisfaction guaranteed apparently. Then when I think back to the last visit to the Hardware Store it was devoid of hosepipe repair parts and those hosepipe repair parts they did stock were all half inch. Not a five eighth inch anywhere to be seen. We're all doomed to the lackeys of greed, all of them eager to sell their souls then boast about it in a Starbucks. Jesus will be turning in his grave and so will Saint Teresa....

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mushrooms

Sautéed Golden Oyster Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach over Potato mashed with fried onions, hot milk and butter. A little salt, a little pepper. Two shop bought sausages of unknown ingredients. Mustard Vinaigrette. A Little grated hard Italian cheese. Followed by a hot Bread Pudding with plumped dried grape crusted sugar top, and Cold Whole Milk.

One of the troubles with Oyster Mushrooms they suddenly come in torrents or bushels, they are not polite, they pour forth endlessly and a person can get to that point were he or she is reluctant to visit the Oyster Mushroom logs without first having some idea of the evening menu.  Fried to crispy Oyster Mushroom as a garnish in Oyster Mushroom, Garlic and Poached Egg soup. It just goes on, but this early year experience of harvest does remind the gardener not to plant more than one Summer Squash.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Signage

A radical adventurer travelled an hour and half to make a case for Science on Earth Day. The A + B of existence and the importance of peer review prior to the word "Eureka." An acceptance of Pi. A solemn occasion, usually, but being people we prefer the victory and dance to the tunes of "I told you so" then soon enough fall flat on our own faces in mud. It's a recurring condition.

The A was map and a respectable shave, the B a parking space. The "Eureka" might have been achieved had our gallant and doddering adventurer dressed correctly for the Arctic chill, the damp rain and had he invested $10 in a Kleenwaste Pee-Wee Urine Bag, with free shipping. His peers, naturally enough, were all frightfully intelligent, most had umbrellas. "In Peer Review We Trust!" was a good one. My own antitheses "Science is Politics" never made it and probably just as well.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Laugh

Our hero has been patiently waiting on a rainy day. Your writer of pulp has entered a period of reverie where the ideal and practical clash in the epic struggle so well expressed by the Psalms of David. Mind you to make any sense of them much better to repeal the ideal of a Christian God, replace it with the geometry of slopes. This way life has its presence here on earth, no comfort from the far away excuse of salvation.

One could think of it as a cosmic joke, but that would require some kind of everlasting observer. So where to join the entails of the Big Bang. One option is to join with the Angel of Greed take as much as we can before it's all gone, the other a sweet surrender into what remains in the hope that whatever comes next, life will proceed without our trivial understandings of it, the naming of parts, then that "which sitteth in the heavens shall laugh" in vain. Call it "Cheeky" if you wish to.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Recusal

Given the current fashion for recusing oneself, I think it only right that I should recuse myself from the burden of even trying to believe anything a member of the political class might see fit to utter and join that throng of men and women who are really far too busy to do very much more to direct our future than express outrage on Face Book and when called upon to action find themselves otherwise engaged in vital bourgeois activities most of which are primarily a Pavlovian reaction to the Running Dogs, or Zou Gou, of Madison Avenue that have turned so many of us into Wombat Cuddlers for the rich and famous.

This of course does mean putting effort into novel expressions of outrage, and this morning while pinching off Asparagus Beetle from the progressively organic Asparagus bed I did have my opportunity to go all out bouffant liberal on a boy Thrasher who was cooing sweet nothings from the Otto Luyken Laurels and confusing the Bean and Lentil soup out of an unattached girl Mockingbird. A rather witty remark, I thought, about the departure of a Fox News Super Star and Health Insurance Companies. Nonetheless when it comes to the Groundhog in the Forsythia I'm just going to have to go neoliberal on him, plan to nail him to the barn wall as a decorative accent.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seasonal Adjustment


High Sweat-Factor in the outdoors and the kind of sun that makes thunder, shrivels the Lettuce, causes Spinach to bolt and encourages creatures that suck blood.

On the positive side the Coat of Many Pockets, a dastardly garment into which useful things disappear never to be seen again, is in summer storage where I hope it gets eaten by moths. 
  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Movement

Discursive Prolix disrupts. Then there's the phrase, "finally he's presidential" and establishments in media and politics breath a sigh of relief. Their definition of "presidential" is reading a script and lobbing bombs on foreigners. Establishments approve of patterns, and it doesn't seem to matter what that pattern is.

Social Movements look toward new patterns, new ways and as a result actions and behaviors described by words like "discursive" "prolix" and "disrupt" are constructive in the process of determining the possibilities of new patterns. Otherwise A + B still equals C and always will, so why bother.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Social skills

One of the issues with being a shut-in is that when you get out and about in the social sphere you soon discover your skills in that area have deteriorated to the point of being almost non-existent and your use of language has progressed to that place on the continuum where others of your species usual politely assign the brain damaged.

On the positive side it's actually very good practice. It prepares a person for the end times, gives an understanding of how one might prepare for those final lucid moments. This way the final utterance might make just a little bit of sense to others and won't be dismissed as a rambling collection of misplaced words. Very important on the death bed not to raise eyebrows.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Augustine and the Soul

Saint Augustine of Hippo, Hippo being a town in what's now Algeria, was around when the Western Roman Empire still had clout in the Mediterranean. He taught rhetoric in various parts of the empire, and he had nothing good to say about any of his unruly and entitled students. He wasn't born to the Christian Faith, he didn't assume it, he converted and he finally found solace in the debates within the many Cathedrals of the early Christian Church.

Augustine said this about the soul: the timing of the of infusion of the soul into the fetus was a mystery known only to God. He reckoned also that the soul was a gift of god to humankind, it wasn't given to something like a pet Beagle. Close to his death, Vandals besieged Hippo. Soon after his death, Vandals lifted the siege, yet when they returned a couple of years later they breached the city defenses and they sacked the city but they left Augustine's library in tact.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time and Being

There are two sides to the argument. On the one side there are those who will say the experience of consciousness is not very useful in the task of indentifying what consciousness is, where it might lie and what it might be. On the other side there are those who basically say that what consciousness is, outside the experience of it, hasn't yet been discovered. And always worth while to remember that we in our species are primarily Tool Makers, which means that if we can get something or someone else to do it for us we will and in the process we stumble upon new things, with new possibilities, some of them useful.

By any measure consciousness, whether or not we know what it is, is useful. And the idea that our species has a monopoly on consciousness, is absurd. We have what we have, it's configured the way is in us and much as we might like to we can't do much about it. Same for a Cat, an Elephant or a Blue Green Algae. But there's one thing for certain, when you have to wait until around noon to realize that today is not Sunday, you begin to understand that consciousness might not be as bright eyed and perky as it's cracked up to be. It's ability to be useful is very dependant upon pretty much everything else that's contained within a self. Alternatively, the end times for me might be closer than I thought.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gateway

Roofing and roofs are a plot to drive a person toward selling his soul to the devil. Not a religious person in the traditional sense but I am beginning "to believe that evil exists." And roofs are a sure sign. They are a gateway to the kind of psychosis that makes a person want to become something like a President of the United States, or a fatwa issuing Mullah. All of it starts with roofs, next thing you're knocking off the heads of Bunny Rabbits and soon enough you're dropping bombs on children just because you feel like it.

Nor does it really help if the roofer is uneasy around a roof that requires anything like a ladder to reach. The other area in the course of daily life, I begin to realize, that also suggests "that evil exists" is the temptation to look for reasons to avoid any task, like roofing, that requires a ladder. Yes indeed, it's a slippery slope, too cold, too hot, the sun's shining, pollen, there's a breeze from the north, north west, nesting Wren, it'll disturb the Cat. Either way roofing has commenced, and some of us are feeling pretty damned heroic, yet another slippery slope.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Flight

The Girl Cat struggles with nerve when Turkey amble into her Empire. They are very big, and I have to agree with her, they do sometimes leave an observer with the impression they are capable of deranged and irrational behavior. It's something about the way they walk, the beady eye and the pecking that goes on.

The other thing about Turkey is that they can fly, and given the current impasse between the Girl Cat and our young boy Mockingbird who takes great pleasure from teasing her, it is possible she's wondering about why the ability to fly hasn't been granted to her. She, like me, can only dream about flying, so we have that in common which is nice.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Belief

Palm Sunday. Everyone was happy, as people tend to be around the idea of a savior. Certainly there were Palms, and in colder places believers use stuff like Willow and Yew and Bunny Rabbits delivering chocolate to represent hope in an eternal solution to the problem of being a person.

It was the establishment elites that chose to disabuse the good will and comradeship the Man on the Donkey had elicited as he rode into the Capital City. No doubt they had their reasons, the powerful have always lived in fairy tale castles when protecting their interests. It's just the way they are.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Reincarnation

"The world is weary of Statesmen who have been degraded into Politicians." It was Benjamin Disraeli, who'd "climbed the greasy pole" to become Prime Minister of Britain. And he reminded us, "damn your principles, sir! Stick to your party."

He also said, "There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable, for in politics there is no honor." The great man died in 1880 and was reincarnated a little over seventy years ago as Mitch McConnell.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Greed

 "Greed" is usually defined as "an excessive desire to posses more than one needs or deserves." Then there are those who will attach the word "Greed" to "competition."

If I was to say I am greedy for clean air, an end to hunger, a more perfect union and world peace I'd have to remind myself of the "deserve" part of the definition.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Academia

There's a moment when an Academic looks at him or herself in the mirror and chooses to become engaged in the world beyond the Common Room. The reason it's risky is because this side of their wall we speak a different language, we cherish those parts of the story we live in and don't really care to be disillusioned, made to feel or be told that we are ignorant, stupid an ill informed. Our primary concern is the extent to which we can avoid damaging that part of ourselves that feels good, and deep down, none of us are very nice.

It's also the case that a great many Academics will be the first to admit that in the area of understanding they are engaged in a discipline the tools of which are designed to produce "Best Guesses." Sad day for all of us when influences on those "Best Guesses" become configured around the more baser instincts that all of us possess. So yes, I will be marching for science and will do so in the hope of encouraging them to step out of their closets and stop all this nonsense about Scientists being purer than the rest of us. My sign will read "It's A Political Protest. Do Try to Get Over Yourselves!"

Monday, April 3, 2017

Zombie Problem

The Zombie Problem is a philosophy of mind Problem. It's often explained this way. "An Octopus interacts with me but how will I ever know what an Octopus is thinking."

Not sure the Octopus was the correct choice of creature for this Problem. Pretty damn certain I know exactly what the Girl Cat's thinking. She wants me to stop what I'm doing and open the front door for her.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Children

Never been under the illusion that politics is about anything other than power and money. Nor have I ever been under the illusion that Democracy is about anything much more than setting the rules for behavior amongst those unfortunates who have been called to politics. And too I have learned to understand cynicism as a variety of common sense, more politely they, or we, when we're in the right mood call ourselves skeptics as we pour cold water down the spines of enthusiasts.

A current obsession in my own little world is a sense that our leaders, the political class, have achieved an atrophy the nature of which follows from them having been possessed of power and money for far too long. The problem for me is that the new broom attempting to sweep them away has been fed by anger and a sense of lose, rather than anything remotely reasonable, and as a result we have entered that part of the dream world that turns to nightmare that feeds on division.  Not a big fan of competitive sports or the victory parade, and chest thumping has never been cute.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Questions

This is why people go to bars, drink beer, listen to a duke box. Questions in anticipation of a Town Hall.

In a bar amongst comrades, a person can reach an understanding of what those questions should be.