Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday

I'd argue that Cute Factor is an arrangement of shapes, textures and movements onto which a person projects a set of emotions that illicit cooing of one kind or another.  There might be some for whom early childhood was so burdened by trauma that the sight of a Kitten might produce that set of reactions that could be thought of as Yuk Factor.

On an imagined continuum between Yuk and Cute the Wombat has always produced in me a mixed or floating reaction. Something to do with the relationship between a Wombat's ears and his or her eyes that suggest a smugness that calls to mind the Objectivism of Ayn Rand and the literature that emerges from the Birch Society's definitions of Freedom.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Additions to the Fold

Different sort of day in the domicile. There's a Kitten in the kitchen. As you can imagine both the Girl Cat and your correspondent are a state of some shock. There's been growling and some nervousness, maneuvering around, high stepping, the usual symptoms of interrupted routine. Currently the Girl Cat is in the outdoors, seeking solace under her Hosta leaves, and I am upstairs pondering the Big Question.

I remember once reading the pompous ass comments of a fellow pompous ass. He claimed that to truly understand the flow and mechanics of a psychological thriller a person would do well to acquire two Cats. For my part I'm doing my best to get my being around the idea of this exploration, and it's my hope that the Girl Cat will in due course arrive at a similar arrangement of custard pie thinking which might enable her to find her own perhaps more sensible solution to the current outbreak of cute factor.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ego

Carl Jung had the idea of an inflated consciousness. It was egocentric to the point of being aware of nothing but its own existence. He added that it was incapable of learning from the past, unable to understand current events and was so hypnotized by itself it could not be reasoned with and as a result was doomed to self inflicted calamities. Jung's own explorations into personality persuaded him that balance within in the mind was a question of wholeness, a sense of being that was complete. And I suspect he never really was able to conclude that this would ever be possible in the more modern society.

Freud's understanding of ego had it as a somewhat confused organizing principle that rode the heaving waves of the subconscious in an often neurotic kind of way. In other words, ego is a long way from dominant in a personality and occasionally succumbs to hysteria or odd behaviors that are anti social and self destructive. In this area of exploring nuttiness, I'd suggest both men would share the idea that devout believers, whatever their set of beliefs might be and however impossible they might sound, benefit mentally, become more "whole" from accepting shared illusion rather than having to go to the effort of creating one of their own. In short if you want to be happy, try to avoid contact with reality.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gibbon

It was kind of like the School Prefects being called into the Headmaster's Office to get a jolly good dressing down. And it was kind of like the Headmaster happened to be under the influence of mind altering drugs. And yet the School Prefects instead of suggesting to the Headmaster that he get a grip, put away the mushrooms for a bit and maybe read a little history, pottered back to their Common Room feeling foolish and unworthy.  

If my boarding school analogy is even a little bit correct, it would seem to me that Gibbon now has his answer to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. What happens to civilizations is this. The commonwealth is sacrificed to the hubris, greed, ill discipline and ambition of a few truly stupid people. And here, to revert for a moment to my own Wombat Cuddling Theory of History always worth remembering that in the muscular year of 1906 Wombats were classified as Vermin.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Technology

The Girl Cat, the Internet Provider and your correspondent have a great deal in common. None of us like exertion of any kind during periods of rain, snow, gusty or chilly conditions and all three of us are adding heat to this list.

If you sweat, whether through paws or feet, as I do, this aversion to inclemency of outdoor conditions is perfectly understandable. But from an Internet Provider, an imagination begins to raise the specter of a malicious conspiracy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Senate

Never sure why anyone might imagine that a system of Health Care designed around Private Enterprise and the Insurance Market would be anything other than an expanding source of revenue for Health Providers, Insurance and Pharmaceutical Companies. Attempting to offer some sense of gentleness by blending regulations into this toxic mix is about as wishy-washy as a person can get. Which is why you have to admire the man who can stand like the Angel of Death at the door to the Doctor's office and say "If you can't afford a Rabies shot, you can't have it." It's what you call Honest.

On the other side of this is the argument that Private Enterprise sucks the big one around Healthcare and there should be no Angel of Death barring the way to the Doctor's Office. This argument offers Healthcare as a Right, paid for like the Ballot Box and the Army through a levy on the general population. A single, rather than multiple competing bodies would determine pricing for the products of Health Service providers. It's an ideological debate between two sides so best to forget all about ridiculous things like science, facts and figures. Call them "soft hearted, learned, civilized and reasonable people" on the one side, and whatever you want to on the other side. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Being

A time comes when Wombat Cuddling ceases to amuse and instead reveals a structural flaw in the tapestries of perception granted to our species by generations of evolution. For certain we are instinct driven, but there remains a part that strives to combine with a calling not wholly devoted to self and circuses and attempts instead to wonder at the possibilities. And for certain we do make things up, invent, explore. Then out pop the Wombat Cuddlers and before you know it, all attempts at reflection upon the realities go out the window. And we become like the Locust where we find solace in destruction and other acts of pomposity. It's the lesson in Heidegger's understanding of Being. Engrossed in our work we fail to look beyond, become a little like Sea Anemones the tentacles of which carry angry banners that read "Don't mess with my Zen" and we end up in deep do-do.

"What is Wombat Cuddling?" I hear the question loud and clear. Not a term that's easily defined, billions of words including the sacred texts have been penned on the subject. More recently it's a combination of shopping, Made in America Week, fake news, Madison Avenue, Time Magazine covers, the laying on of hands, Hollywood, water, air, food, cigarettes and Canning Tomato. All of them, and many others, that inspire a desire to find a completeness beyond which nothing much else matters. But, I'd argue, the signature mark of the Wombat Cuddling Fraternity is an inability to grasp the infinite nature of Being. It still happens when you're not here. It happened before you arrived. It doesn't stop and there are no solutions. In short, despite the rumors, none of us actually matter. What matters is the fact of existence. And without meaning to step on your Zen we Wombat Cuddlers are functionally unable to accept this. Depressing? Of course it is! And yet we continue.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Language

IMAO, in the new language means "In My Arrogant Opinion." Pretty much sums the position your correspondent takes on all subjects. The secret of course is to recall the wisdom of ages which all the way back to Zoroaster and up to us through the Greek via many an iteration to an utterance from a US Judge who was born to the name Billings Learned Hand and who died in 1961. No kidding. What he said was this "The spirit of Liberty is the spirit that's not too sure that it's right."

Then when we gather in isolated rooms around computer screens to wax caustic upon the big ideas our opinions meld into a competition for attention. It's theater, and from this drama we lose the real in the interest of impressing each other. The Irish Poet has it right. Yates: "The ceremony of innocence is drowned, the best lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity." Both Liberty and Freedom belong to innocence. The Second Coming; "what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born." Schrodinger's Cat for the Physicists, but here on earth TTTH gets a lawyerly perspective. Topical? I believe so.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Teeth

There's going to be yet another valiant effort by your correspondent to end an old and very favorite habit. I will of course be heroic, there'll be no tantrums, no throwing things, no wishing death upon anything or anyone that even looks cheerful and the last time I attempted to be heroic I had what I begin to believe was a psychosomatic reaction. I blew up like a balloon with an itchiness that has been described as Hives. A paltry and wholly inadequate description for an experience that lasted at least three days. It was all over the place, didn't sleep, became unbearable to live with, gave serious consideration to grave digging until finally I crawled into town to negotiate for a pack of cigarettes.

The thing about it was, as soon as I saw the OPEN sign flashing a welcome from the Tobacco Shed all balloon like symptoms evaporated, my mind was clear, I heard the angelic choir and I answered with a calm "Carton of Berley in Box, please." The question, what possible reason could there be to desert an old and faithful friend, a reliable comrade in time of stress who has been a provider of solace since something like 1965. The answer has a technical term, Chremato-Dento-Phobia, which is basically the common fear of wasting money on dentists. Yes indeed, the top teeth are shot, they're all coming out, the bottom teeth are more likely to be saved if I could give up cigarettes through the healing process. It'll be a Balancing Act which is a technical legal expression for those of us who may well have a Straight Jacket in their future.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Johnson Grass

Round the fields making war upon a truly noxious and unnaturally aggressive grass, followed by what might well have been forty eight hours of harvesting and canning assorted vegetables, no Tic or Spider bite but the feet smell like dead Buffalo, I could well have Lyme Disease and the rain missed us. "And your point" I hear the call. Well, the answer, and this may shock the assiduous reader, is Winter Projects. Frankly I yearn for the sprout of Winter Oats, the incredible aggravation of the Festive Season, and the complete absence of anything like a temperature over something like 52 Fahrenheit. January in the company of N scale would suit me fine at the moment.

Meanwhile to calm the soul a little, better to vent the spleen upon Colonel William Johnson, an Alabama Plantation owner who in 1840 planted a grass that has since gained the title of "Number six on the world's top ten worst weeds." How proud his off spring must be and no doubt all of them are waddling around sporting red caps with "Make America a Toxic Stew" emblazoned upon them. The sins of the Father, my big toe. Number one on the world's top ten list of worst weeds has the rather splendid name Purple Nutsedge. For some reason the very idea of the name Nutsedge gives me hope for the future. Mind you I felt the same way about the gracefully titled Water Hyacinth.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Catapult and Beer

Not so bad in the shade, bit of a breeze, clouds of the fluffy kind, but sadly it's far too hot in the sun for those of us born pink, blotchy and freckled. I've come to the conclusion that when it's too hot and humid in the sun Tomato become shy around blooming, they develop flower briefly and then like me they say "To Hell With This." Nor do Goldfinch really help, they get all excited among the shady trees, plot their course and as the evening arrives, the day settles toward supper time they mass for a feast of Tomato blooms. One solution is a small agile boy with a catapult.

There was a time during the early days of plotting a course through existence a young comrade who was very adept with a catapult was often called upon by his mother to guard her Millet and Sorghum. Most know what Sorghum looks like, a giant weed that could be invasive than anything wholesome. Millet is basically a tall grass that has a tousled head dress which produces billions of seeds each one looks like a tiny Pea. They don't need much rain, they grow fast and any creature that feeds on seeds is naturally attracted to them. Back then of course the Millet and Sorghum crop was primarily devoted to home brewed beers of varying qualities called Ajono. The polite would drink it through a straw.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Declining Standards

In the early, early days of the Second World War the USA chose to remain neutral. It had no popular desire to send soldiers to die in Europe. Congress was a little divided, and there were many who reckoned on a European war as good chance to provide profit to and employment in the US Armament Industries. Diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic went to work, and UK set up a department within it's Secret Service to do everything possible to persuade the USA to get involved in the war. A whole lot of very sinister stuff happened including the seduction of an Isolationist and popular elderly Politician by a very, very hot chic, and other dastardly acts.

And too, a document was forged by the Brits. It was a plan by the German High Command to invade Mexico, and proceed from there to conquer South America. This forged document was discovered by US Intelligence Services and it was given to President Roosevelt. US Intelligence insisted it was genuine, they'd stolen it from the German Embassy in Mexico City. Roosevelt fell for the forged document, and he used it in the way politicians do to support his argument that the US should chose sides in the European conflict. After Pearl Harbor, the Brits were persuaded to come clean, perhaps show off a little. They told the President that the German plan to invade South America was a total fiction. None of which should prevent us from at least hoping for a higher standard of behavior in the Political Class.

Monday, July 10, 2017

PC's

One of the rules around Pressure Canning is never to lose the spectacles. Best to keep them firmly strung around your neck, so you always know where they are. Some members of the Pressure Canning Community, or PC's as we call ourselves, probably have good vision, others could well have the kind of spectacle that remains on the nose without ever falling off. Nor am I prepared to believe that any member of the PC community would have so denied their basic instinct that they'd succumb to the vanity of Contact Lenses. Leave that sort of nonsense to ex runway models, airplane travellers bound for singles weekends, advertising executives and well past their prime Beatniks.

The reason never to lose the spectacles is the Pressure Dial on the Pressure Canner. If you can't see the little needle on the dial, don't know whether it's pointing at 10, 15 or 20 PSI the entire six hour exercise of picking, cleaning, dicing, blanching seven whole quarts of hot fill Beans ends as a panic stricken nightmare. On the other side of this argument is the idea that it takes anything like six hours to produce seven quarts of anything. Nor  does that six hours include, bed preparation, planting, weeding or the hours of man to pest combat with Stinkbug, Bean Beetle and the host of unmentionables some of whom could be Beneficial. Finally, having endured the experience of Pressure Canning seven whole quarts of Beans the best advice is not to seek relaxation and a sense of accomplishment by live-streaming anything like news programming on the technical device.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Carrots

"Carrots." And I say Carrots to remind what remains of me that if by some peculiar chance I find myself still upon the earth next spring, I'm to avoid planting so many of them and to make quite certain the ranks of Carrot seedlings are brutally thinned. I could of course use the word "Eugenics" as an aid to memory, but being a lily-livered liberal without the Maoist tendencies I cleave to the argument there is room in the tapestry even for those of us who fail to indicate when changing lanes on the highway. Which makes thinning innocent and dewy eyed Carrot seedlings so emotionally difficult I often leave it until it's far too late.

The answer is probably some sort of disguise, two personalities, one dainty the other a close cousin to the beast of Kapital. Each would dress accordingly. Floral hat, clean socks and after-shave for the one. Some kind of military jodhpur, black shirt and campaign medals for the other. This way I could chose who to be as the morning arrived. There'd be none of this fanning around and "oh dear, maybe tomorrow!" I'd just get right in there with the solider chants and rum. Soon now I'll have my chance to put this theory into practice. I have Great-great-great-grandmother Strawberry plants that need to be euthanized. It encourages the young, apparently. Oddly I have no problem at all ripping the heart out of Strawberry runners, the little bastards are all over the place.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Little Things

Many years ago in a land far away a callow youth wandered the green, pleasant, and often rain drenched land looking for something more than the shelter of paid work. Frankly he was tired of being sneered at for his lack of basic necessities, his cheerful demeanor, his happy-go-lucky attitude toward things like bathing and footwear, his total absence of anything like ambition around the slippery pole of achievement or around the equally ludicrous notion of "Getting Ahead." So what did he do? Well, I'll tell you. It was January and he got an indoor job with prospects and radiators at a clerk's desk in an accountant's office.

"You Jest!" I hear the cry. And I'd have to agree that it does sound strange that an accounting firm would agree to employ such a character but in the context of being sneered at by his often forceful peers many of whom were mortgage bound, it might be worth mentioning that a narrative is more like an Onion than it is like an Apple. It has layers under its skin, and unlike an Apple, Onions aren't sweet, unless there's something wrong with your taste buds. Soon enough our callow youth discovered that Accounting was neither Heaven nor Hell. The story was totally wrong. He was fired in April just in time to weed gardens, mow grass, hold his head up high and not have to worry about his finger nails being clean. It's a hard, some might call it anti-social, lesson, but well worth learning.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Great Game

As a person very determined to remain in his own bubble while on these pages I will forgo any kind of remark on international affairs. 

Instead I'm just going to say I have flue-like symptoms, I could well be developing sores, I definitely need a staircase elevator but I'd rather die than visit a Sandals Resort.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wildlife

Peak Bean, I reckon. There's a whole bunch of varmints including one of those incredibly cocky Tree Frogs running rough shod through the foliage, so the remaining crops of Beans will become increasingly ravaged and this means your gardener will have to give up on the simplicity of freezing his Beans, hunt around for his notebook, reacquaint himself with the Pressure Cooker and proceed to Canning. The only positive is that a canned Bean will survive the power cuts that can kill off the frozen variety.

It's been a few years since I saw a Tree Frog in the Vegetable Garden. Seem to remember that Tree Frog also found sustenance in the Beans. Toads, of which there are two giants, tend to get grumpy and retreat at the approach of picking fingers or hose pipes, but not Tree Frogs. Tree Frogs have that sort of gallantry that suggest "I Dare You make me Leap at your throat." Which is fine. Vegetable Garden Toads of course have a problem when they get too big, thanks to the brilliance of my Rabbit Protection projects there's just no way a Big Toad can get out of the garden. I watched one try. I really should dig a pond or make some sort of door for them.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Onion Soup

Far too many Onions in our own little smug world of plenty. But the more creative member of the bond did succeed in contriving a system that very successfully dried the Garlic. The Kitchen now benefits from decorative braids, and they look splendid in that Coffee Book way. With the Onions, a theory from afar was to pull them before "June Rains" and by doing so they too would have their chance to dry to storable before the miseries of July. For one reason or other your routine bound gardener failed miserably to observe this simple rule, probably far too engrossed in his Compost Pile and the important work of edging. The Onions are what they call "On The Verge," a condition we're all familiar with since Nov 2016.

In time past a surfeit of Onions has meant a series of experiments around pots, pans, vinegar, curse words, herbs and spices. One year I boldly decided to go crazy, make Onion Soup.  Both the Artist and I are firmly in agreement that my Onion Soup was so awful it came second place in the category of horrible to my Wax Gourd Curry, which had a quality and texture so vile it really defies description. This year the Artist decided to take charge of the cutting board, there's a series of Onion Soup recipes that require a little Garlic, exotic cheese and cubes of toast. Tragically none of these recipes call for more than four cups of diced onion. I see pickling in my future. On the other hand there's my old faithful who at 93 degrees of Fahrenheit needs turning

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4

Nine of them. One of the problems at this time of year is being able to stay awake in the evening long enough for a moment in the outdoors that contains that sort of darkness which not only grants a full appreciation of exploding ordinance but also retains sufficient mental acuity to safely launch rockets without setting the barn or a neighbor's domicile or his field on fire. So it's a balancing act as much as it is an act of wanton vandalism.

The other problem is the Girl Cat. She spends much of the daylight waiting for the gloom that follows sunset so that she might pad around perfecting the craft of a serial killer and fireworks are the last thing she really needs during those moments which are precious for her. Probably best to put faith in the mystery of Karma, there's only so much padding around a creature can do without getting padded upon. It's a rich tapestry out there and sometimes dangerous.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dress

Summer has arrived. 87 degrees Fahrenheit at 10.30 am. Humidity 72%. Did your gardener buckle? Yes he did! He decided to rediscover the short trousers which have been in hiding for a good six months. The knees are in shock.

For some parts of us there's something incredibly undignified about short trousers. It's almost as though all attempts at a civilizing impulse have come to an end. Let loose the passions, peel me a grape while I wallow in mud

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Blob-like

I recall being forced to witness an Eclipse sometime in the early 1960's. Thanks to modern freely available data I have determined the date and title of that Eclipse. The Annular Solar Eclipse of July 31st 1962. We schoolboys were instructed not to stare directly at the sun, instead we were to take our turn with a shard of clear glass the headmaster had managed to make smoky using a candle. By the time my turn came to look at the sun, the smokiness had gone from the glass, lost to the sweaty fingers of the older boys. Then by the time the headmaster had managed to re-smoke the glass the Annular Solar Eclipse of July 31st 1962 had moved either west to Tanzania or east toward Ethiopia.

An Annular Solar Eclipse is when the sun is at no time completely obscured by the moon. A Total Solar Eclipse is when the moon does indeed obscure the sun and causes some part of the earth to experience darkness in daytime. In August of this year a Total Eclipse will cross the USA. The north edge of the Total part of this Eclipse will pass sometime in the very early afternoon around sixty miles south of here. The question is, How interested am I in being underneath a Total Solar Eclipse?  The answer should be a loud "Yes!" But some of us more Saintly members of the community might pause a while before leaping to that answer. Is it really worth messing with the routine, to get in a motor vehicle travel miles in the midday?  Sadly I have fifty days to fret this problem.