Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kitten

The Kitten, I would estimate, is something like a hyperactive ten year old with a tremendous capacity to be the center of attention and a reluctance to take on the characteristics of Cat-dom that should include Sphinx-like aloofness, disdain for the ordinary and extended naps.

She has also developed an interest in active keyboards. Already she's managed to alter a number of settings, she's done something to the screen saver, she enjoys locking caps, changed the time from EST to somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, and I have a horrible feeling she's giving consideration to a opening Twitter account.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fashion Trends

If you wonder why outrage serves our species, the answer lies in the more primal levels of our thinking where it's Us against Them, a circle that twists into a greater and greater intensity, feeds upon itself and ultimately a Revelation is forged, call it victory, or winning, or survival, or, depending upon perspective, beating your head against a brick wall until next time, but never call it reason, or common sense because reason or common sense are incredibly boring and there's a strong chance these two fine sentiments don't actually exist within living things where the day to day is more like trade, buying time for one more day.

In us people, we have the capacity to conceive a future, but too often we leave the thinking part to forces we claim to have no control over, it's today that counts, tomorrow will take care of itself. Call it the unknown, see it as the excitement of anticipating victory, all the plans are in place, strategies for the ground game devised, and when we lose it has to be someone's fault, someone has to die for our sins. So what's left, we look for the good things in others of our species and we draw comfort from what might be true. The soldier who throws himself on the hand grenade to save comrades, the generous act of the Samaritan, it's a long list. And here, I'm really very far from pure, I'm outraged most of the time, which is nice because it means I'm perfectly normal, quite fashionable and at the same time it's a little depressing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teeth

Sneezing and false teeth don't go well together. The momentary relief of a sneeze is soon lost to the idea of your false teeth flying through the air, heading directly for something that might not be hygienic, or something like a Kitten with sharp teeth and an interest in blood sports. This means that when you sneeze you have to use your tongue to hold your false teeth in. There's a chance of course that my false teeth are a little loose on the gums, but who knows.

The other area of immediate concern is the capacity for verbal communication. Oh sure, there are things like S's to worry about, but I'm more concerned by the possibility that false teeth further reduces the wearers recall of everyday words. Small comfort that I've been losing this rather crucial ability for many years. And sadly, unlike cats, we people have yet to develop the medium of telepathy when seeking assistance.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Irrigation

One of the first societies to learn how to take surplus from agriculture emerged on the beautiful soil of an alluvial plain upon which, in a really excellent year, nine inches of rain would fall. Their major source of water was from two giant rivers which would regularly flood in a most a terrifying way. To make the soil bountiful through the dry seasons, wondrous works of irrigation were devised. The consequence of the surplus produced has given this part of the world a claim to the title Cradle of Civilization. Things like writing and sums, stone tablet laws, standing armies, cities, accountants and contract law.

Water from rivers is different to water from rain. The water from a river is subject to trace elements a river picks up from the lands through which it travels. In the burning heat on poorly drained ground, irrigated water evaporates leaving dissolved salts in the soil. Over time these salts build and the simpler more humble things such as Wheat can struggle to produce the surplus that some will argue civilization depends upon. Others might think twice before jumping to the conclusion that nothing could have been done to save the surplus. My own view, call it eccentric if you wish to, civilization is down to us not surplus. Sadly I'm usually wrong about these things.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Eggplant

Often tried to extend the Eggplant season. Dear things give their all and in the end an Eggplant will produce between six and nine beautiful fruits before sensing the end times, entering a spongy ennui that most certainly is not helped by the hot weather Hoppy Bug. This year your gardener instead of waiting for the natural course of events, put the Eggplant out of the their misery, it was painful, it was ugly and all I can hope for is that when my time comes someone will do the same for me, quickly and when I'm not looking. No matter how you try to balance it the life of a vegetable gardener is pretty much all about killing living things in often unpleasant ways. It's a sense of entitlement we have, which not only enables us to justify, it gives us reason and it definitely creeps into our relationships with others of our own kind.

Then in the afterlife a person will wander around endlessly, and there, everything that was will be. And when I think about it I'll have to do a lot of dodging around, hiding in clouds, stuff like that, to avoid bumping into one or other of the many thousands of plants and insects that I've done away with. It's almost enough to turn a person toward the Christian path where the afterlife is apparently a people only reservation. Yes indeed, it's complicated for me. The idea of living for eternity amongst people only, fills me with a certain dread, which I guess is why I cleave to the slope and wish to be given to the birds of the air and whatever is left will drift to the rivers for others to feed upon, all the way back to the Gentle Blue Green Algae. Being strung up for the Buzzards makes eminent sense to me, but I'm constantly being told it's against the law in this county.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Names

Curiously enough when I was a schoolboy, I knew three people with the surname Harvey.  In those days of course we didn't call each other by our first names, no idea why but calling each other by first names was considered very poor form, definitely a no-no for clansmen who started their day by dunking themselves in a cold bath or face punishment. Instead we generally gave each other nicknames.

Leaving aside the obvious arguments against giving storms names associated with people, it's going to be interesting to observe how the masters of division in our nation apportion blame for the consequences of Hurricane Harvey. I can almost hear the White House blaming Texas, New Orleans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Seas, weather forecasters, the Constitution of the United States, both parties in the Senate, North Korea, China and the West coast of Africa.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Heel

And here your correspondent isn't speaking as an entirely well balanced person, he's speaking as a person who's very recently seen needles attached to syringes, has had all his top teeth removed, and he's definitely, in no uncertain terms, asking the question why.

Instead of something like twitter or the equally puerile Nuremberg style rallies, the obvious solution to aid the healing process might be found in an inexpensive technical device that follows him around and yells back exactly whatever he might like to yell at it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Poor Behavior

Korean Pears are almost ripe. A little ladder work in the slippery cool of tomorrow morning and of the possibilities there's either a couple of buckets of pears to look forward to or a visit to the emergency room. At this age recovery from injury takes considerably longer, and without beating the reeds for anything like science I'll tell you this much, if you have to take something like Horse Tranquilizers for the pain of an injury you might just as well call it quits. Far better to endure the process of recovery by being bad tempered, moaning and groaning, throwing things around and going to the Serbian Language for adequate curses.

 "When might it be correct to take Horse Tranquilizers?" I hear the call. The answer is very simple. While on a static prone telephone line attempting to explain to an Internet Service Provider that your internet has developed a cantankerousness, has become bloody minded and seems to have no intention of observing its purpose unless you happen to be reporting its bad behavior to the High Priests at Windstream and you'd rather not wait a week for them to find out what might be troubling it. Call it an emotional dependence, if you wish to.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Musty

Don't mean to sound as though I've great experience of these things but take for example skinheads, young men and boys who in their attempts to understand their sense of frustration and powerlessness explore violence as a solution to impurity, find a home in Valhalla rather than a boxing ring. If there's no one to fight, they test each other by fighting amongst themselves, which isn't quite as satisfying in terms of unit cohesion as finding another group of mostly strangers to fight. Imagine the ugly joy a skinhead clan would take from the knowledge of a violent confrontation with say for example Antifa. It's a chance at justification, self worth, there are battle honors in a cause that can be expressed in words. Indeed, a call to unity between skinhead clans was "We're all white, right!" And off they'd go to find black, or brown, or a gentle hitch-hiker minding his own business, or another town to beat up. These days of course it's about memes, massaging, tweets, donate, cable news and likes on facebook.

More than likely the young men of Antifa have developed a similar sense of themselves, an idea of glory, and those of us who wonder at how peaceful and calm and understanding we can be in the face of well armed and angry white nationalists chanting hate in the streets of our towns, we have a sympathy for anyone with the courage to confront the outrage. It's visceral, it's dirty work, it's frightening and easy to pretend that you won't, but stuff happens and you'll get sucked into the whirlwind. There's a story from Socrates' soldiering days. He was a Hoplite, a foot soldier. Classically enough Plato was a horse soldier, he could easily gallop off. Following the Athenian route at the Battle of Delium, the enemy saw blood, spoils and victory. The Athenians in retreat ran hell for leather to escape and many of those running were cut down. Instead of running, Socrates chose to walk away. While his comrades were slaughtered he was left alone. There's a chance the wisest of men was just very un-athletic, he might have had a sore toe, or possible he was just musty and very grumpy. He was forty eight at the time of the battle.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Compren!

Nietzsche has been a loadstone for crackpot ideas. Like the bible a person can pluck anything that matches a preconception from him without having to bother with the rest of it, and in the same way that the bible was written by people, Nietzsche was a person, he died somewhere around 1900.  Nietzsche's poem "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and the "Gospel of Saint John" were issued to front line German soldiers to give them comfort in the First World War. But by the Second World War it was the "The Will to Power" which was the work of Nietzsche's sister, culled from her brother's random notes she'd found lying around long after her brother died, of a syphilis which had entered his mind, turned him either sad or insane depending upon perspective. And like so many, Elisabeth Nietzsche found exactly what she wanted to in her brothers words, and she made them "look at me, I'm famous" profitable for herself and her anti-Semitic pals. When Elisabeth died in 1935, Hitler, who himself had ambitions to be thought of as God, brilliant he thought himself  and wonderful in every way, attended her funeral.

The more juvenile minds have always pounced upon the periphery of Nietzsche's understanding of "God is Dead, long live Superman." "That which does not break me, makes me stronger" the sort of crap-ass tough guy with a U Tube channel and the thought processes of a shellfish. Nietzsche's point however was more in line with the question, "what happened to God, what's next?" His answer if he had one was to explore what it would be like with man as god. On the positive side he reckoned it would do away with divisive religions, nations, anti-Semitism and produce a sort of equality and freedom in which idea and reason would flourish rather than be chained by the pillars of past. On the negative side he looked at himself as a person, he saw the powerful  Pontius Pilate's description of Jesus who'd been whipped, crowned with thorns, "Ecce Homo," behold the man, and the philosopher shuddered at the prospect of anything like a man being god. Yes indeed I will always argue that Nietzsche, the son of  a Lutheran Pastor, died of a broken heart.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Civics

Major heat factor, thank goodness it was in the shade, otherwise your correspondent would at this moment be pink, very blotchy and still trying to get himself into a refrigerator. Meanwhile some in our town had a high noon moment with a number of preachers and the mayor. And it was all about trying to be sensible around common sense and decency with the occasional amen.

One issue had to do with the power of prayer. And as someone who has attempted to use prayer to wish things like death upon creatures like Hoppy Bug, I can with some confidence say there's a good chance prayer might not work in any kind of traditional way. All I can say is that if I ever do get new teeth I really hope some piss-ant with hard on for hurting others doesn't kick me in the mouth again.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Universal

Whether you go to Hegel for perfection, the Brahmins, the physicists, the astrologers, the interpretive dance people, almost anyone you can think of they're all looking for a universal principle. The idea there might not be one, hits a sour note in many of us, it suggests an excuse for hedonistic excess, the kind of debauchery that results in things like the vomitorium, plastic surgery and the list includes holocausts, English Boarding Schools, the Olympics, child molesting priests.... So it's all rather depressing for a more sensitive person with elegant wrists and no front teeth.

But one things for sure, the very idea of a world populated entirely by, or dominated by, white, protestant Anglo Saxon males produces a very adverse reaction in me. Not even Dante could have imagined such a circle in hell. Assimilate for god's sake, grow up, look at yourselves, the 1950's like Buddy Holly is long gone, and none of this "I just want to preserve the heritage of a slave owning aristocracy who fought a war to preserve slavery and lost."  And the thing about Universal Principles there's no wishy-washy about them they become righteous and blood drenched.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mother of All

It's mind blowing. Might just as well be us peasants going on about the comings and goings at the Court of King John, who rumor has it died from drinking either bad, possibly poisoned, ale or from eating too many peaches. I find myself medieval, plotting the reintroduction of Town Square Stocks. Visualizing the act of throwing rotten eggs so they don't break in your hand. Wondering at the technical problems around filling a balloon, or a pigs bladder, with urine.

And for some reason recalling that back in the Medieval period the Ale Conner would check the quality of beer sold in bars and if it wasn't up to scratch they'd not only fine the Inn they'd also put up a sign which would drive the drinking classes elsewhere. There's an argument too that a Bo Peep was a person who warned the barman an Ale Conner was on the prowl. Either-way it's a somewhat time warped digression from wondering what flag flies over the current White House and how a person conjures the Goddess Kali. She's a long way from socks without sandals, she's the original "Mother of All" and not to be messed with.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Order of things

In furtherance my quest to comprehend I've spent far too much time with the lunatic fringe, much of it hasn't reached the dictionaries yet. And if you want to know the difference between the rightward leaning and the leftward leaning, it's the rightward leaning that makes a fetish out of violence. By fetish I mean the belief that the thing or the act has a religious or spiritual value, and by violence I mean the physical act of hurting or killing or torturing others. And often the devices used to hurt, kill or torture others are regarded with a neurotic reverence that someone like Freud has a lot to say about, some of it quite funny, but I'll tell you this much, raise it in the chat rooms and it does rather raise the hackles of the rightward leaning who despite rumor to contrary can be sensitive. It's a boy thing, I guess.

The other area of difference, apart from grammar and spelling, has to do with an understanding that in us people there is a natural order of things which either can or cannot be changed. So for example take the recent Google Memo. For those in doubt, the memo argued that women don't make good code writers, it's too tense or something, and the boy who wrote the memo was fired and he's now going on about Political Correctness, First Amendment, "Telling it like it is," he's crowd sourcing thousands of dollars, and might even get a job in the current White House. The rightward leaning tend to the idea that the reason women cannot make good code writers is because of the natural order of things. And it's we wishy-washy liberals who argue that the natural order of things sucks the big one, and something needs to be done about it sooner rather than later. All I can say is thank goodness I don't have to even contemplate the ordeal of giving birth, or write code for the Devil's Monopoly that is Google, or walk around carrying a bloody great bit of metal in order to feel whole.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New Age

As a person who holds fast to the view that not only does an Angel of Greed live in his barn, but also believes a small round member of the Elfin-kind regularly absconds with wrenches, hammers, spirit levels and half inch screws, I think it safe to say that I understand what it's like to be surrounded by the wretched and evil who spend much of their existence plotting the downfall of a good, honest and decent gardener who sometimes has to address the foibles of geriatric mechanical devices which themselves could well be in league with Medical, Dental and Mail Order Hardware Professionals.

The other, very frustrating, point is that few believe me when I tell them why buying another 3/8th wrench is a waste of good money because it's like a magnet to Elves and will soon disappear. Instead, most tell me that tidiness, discipline and a degree of objectivity is a much better cure for paranoid and delusional behavior than lunatic ranting and raving. Nor do they take seriously my argument that paranoia is a New Age and increasingly fashionable leadership quality that should be respected rather than laughed at. And No, the Angel of Greed doesn't have wings, he just sits there polishing his finger nails.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Behavior

When you think about it, back in 1914, it was the act of a single assassin that tipped the souls of the powerful toward solving their family quarrels by plunging the world into the First World War.

It was going to be a straight forward masculine confrontation that would probably be over in a couple of months. Four years later a peace treaty was signed that in many ways was so unsatisfactory it laid the foundations for the Second World War.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Data Issues

Not a big fan of the regional internet provider. Nor am I that certain the voice at the other end of the service line isn't actually a real life, overly detail oriented person with a somewhat Anglo Saxon sense of humor pretending to be machine of some sort. Having spent many sometimes frustrating hours with the voice we have developed a relationship that has enabled me to know what he might say next and oddly I rather look forward to talking to him.

When the time comes for him to say "Is there anything else I can help you with" my instincts were to simply remain polite. More recently I've given up the niceties and have begun to question the validity of his sense of self in an attempt to better understand what existence in the singularity might be like for us mortals. It's a tricky business because invariably the voice replies "Hold on, while I transfer you." Interestingly while I'm on hold, between songlets of the elevator kind, I am sternly warned that calls are sometimes monitored and my patience is much appreciated.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rabies

The question of whether our hero has had a rabies vaccination yet again rears its ugly head. Occasionally a writer of pulp has to sweat the details, not something that comes easily, but when everything is said and done there is no other pox which according to several myths turns a victim into the creature that bit him, her or it.

At the same time I'm keenly aware that 99.9% of the reason I have failed to pursue the Rabies Issue further has to do with an incontinent technical device which eighteen odd months ago chewed up, swallowed and by digesting the first drafts and notes of Book Seven caused months possibly years of work to vanish. Either way, whether he likes it or not, our hero is going to be bitten by a rabid Mink.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Nicknames

Mickey Mouse and Donald Trump have one thing in common. In drug culture the two names are used in the methamphetamine trade. Mind you, if someone with a distant look in their eye mentions Nancy Pelosi they could well be on the hunt for LSD. And I guess some might already know that good old fashioned weed is often called Nixon.

Beyond the world of code names for illicit substances our president has several nicknames. "Agent Orange" is pretty good. There's a rumor he's called "Donny Two Minutes" in the West Wing of the White House, something about the man's attention span. My own absolute favorite nickname for our president falls somewhere between "Der Gropenfuhrer" and "The Mango Mussolini." Ain't freedom great, let's make it last.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Profits and Prophets

For those who might not know it, massive investments in infrastructure, could well have produced over sixty million unoccupied apartments in China. Each one is for sale but each one is well beyond the means of the average wage earner.

Here in the west where there is no command economy, high praise for the rising price of stocks is more often than not a prelude to the sort of exuberance that produces millions of unoccupied apartment buildings. Call me Jeremiah, if you wish to.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Angelic Host

Never have liked Sunday and at the same time think it quite wrong that anyone should have to work on Sunday. When I am God, should I be able to prevent myself from starting this whole life upon earth experiment over again, I will smite in a mighty kind of way anyone I happen to notice working on Sunday and I will also do some serious smiting of anyone who expects someone else to work on Sunday. That includes everyone, there'll be no exceptions, not even for gardeners who have stuff like canning to do.

More interesting perhaps is why I don't like Sunday. I'll give you examples. Visit the Grocery Store after Churches have done their Sunday best and there's a stuffed full car park, a bunch of well dressed, fine smelling people with lists and appallingly behaved children racing around with loaded shopping carts, it's a total irritation. I remember an old man of the Muslim faith telling me that God being an Almighty clearly caused creation in an instant, none of this dragging it all out over six days and resting on the seventh. Yes indeed, as God I will take pride in being both irrational and intolerant.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Murmurations

Starlings, one of the species of bird rumored to have been introduced to the USA by a big fan of Shakespeare because to his genteel and theatrical sensitivities Central Park in the city of New York just had to be a home for all the bird species mentioned in Shakespeare's plays, are beginning to Flock.

You see them in small silent groups heading in straight lines to nowhere in particular. When it starts to get colder their flock will join with others and as they do so they will begin to chatter. When the frost comes they'll be a joyous cloud of thousands, and love them or hate them their dance in the sky before the roost is a sight to see.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Decisions

Wasn't easy, the word potlatch was mentioned on more that one occasion but after a long and sometimes emotional discussion with our hero a decision has been reached. The Vestry of Monnow, or book seven, will fall to an end point at that moment when our hero succeeds in winning his place in the Tri-County Mental Asylum of Afon-Bedd.

One reason for this shift of emphasis is that while your writer of pulp is an enthusiastic fan of using lunatic asylums as perfect venues for the exploration of social cohesion, it has of late been all just a little too close to the bone for our incredibly quarrelsome hero. The decision does mean that in the meanwhile book seven will require a new title. Gwningen and Giovanni, I thought. However, difficult nights ahead, our hero disagrees with the title

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Change

There's a theory that if you vote for somebody it arranges the brain cells around the idea of betrayal in the way that a blood oath or a baptism does. Not certain where this theory comes from, might even have emulated our president and just made it up, but nonetheless I suspect the theory has some merit. And here I'll take myself as an example of the sort of intense stubbornness of mind that results in tribal affiliation rather than anything that remotely follows the patterns of reasonable debate that so often depend upon degrees of open-mindedness, not something we geriatrics are famous for during times of great change.

It has to do with what's been called Companion Planting. Plants, the argument goes, have preferences with respect to other plants, they can be picky about their neighbors, put a Bean next to Radish and they both sulk, spend most of their season quarreling. No one likes Good King Henry, what some call Lamb's Quarter, call it bullying if you wish to. Companion Planting was in my view a totally absurd theory and under no circumstances was I, nut-eater in good standing, prepared to tolerate that sort of anti-social behavior as I went about ridding the garden paths of Creeping Grass by pouring boiling water over it. Yet this year, of the Tomato, those planted in a curtain of Carrot are doing very much better than those which are not. Depressing, I'd say yes.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Teeth

Your correspondent has no front teeth at the moment. It's like old times, a good wide grin at the bourgeoisie sends them running, they see it as yet another symptom of the low moral character found in the poor, the illiterate and the mentally unstable.

I kind of like the look, makes me feel rugged and self reliant, will definitely take it shopping, to the bank, the Post Office, and always best not to try using a credit card or a check. If memory serves, with a look like mine, cash is king.