Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ball Joints and Spindle Bearings

The trouble with being born a pompous-ass I could go on hour after boring hour on the topic of sycophant motivations and tyranny, and how to attempt an understanding of them without resorting to vulgarities and rude gestures, but that doesn't get me a ball joint for the steering of a venerable riding mower that's been sitting in the maybe pile for a good couple of years. The personality flaw of course is saying something like "It'll be good for parts." The thing is parts fail and usually it's the same parts that fail, so sooner or later a machine runs out of good looking and donatable parts, and the whole thing looks very sad and tragic, kind of like a polio victim. 

The other thing about this mower is the deep affection we share, we've been through hell together and it's my fault the steering failed. Which is yet another personality flaw that's sure to cost more than a couple of cartons of cigarettes and dozens of cans of sweetened condensed milk. All of which means I am doomed to reenter the dark and incredibly frustrating world of Spindle Bearing Repair. The spindles are the bits that allow the deck blades to spin, and I've kind of used a couple of bearings from this mower deck's spindles. It wasn't an easy thing to steal, I felt terrible doing it and even if price-wise new spindle bearings are up there with a well pump, it was kind of a betrayal on my part, one of those shameful feelings that haunt.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Being wishy-washy I've always been keen on phenomenological approaches. It's a long word and impossible to spell and it essentially means the stuff that's experienced by the mind. Sounds easy but none of us are able to actually get into someone else's mind, feel what they feel, think in the way they think. Transactional Analysis was a move toward getting a better grasp of the stuff that's experienced by the mind through looking at the more personal social interactions and categorizing them into parent, adult and child ego-states. The reason for choosing these three states is because they're either conflicting or complementary, and can be thought of as transactions between people and within groups of people. A small step in the problem of exploring the experience of others but a big one I think. "Are you treating me like a child?" "Only because I love you." A truly charged verbal interaction that can be explored in terms of both sides wanting something from the other, and it would seem neither one making much progress in the difficult business of getting the other to behave, oblige, go away or whatever. One of the troubles for the practitioners of phenomenological approaches to analysis is they are time consuming, require great patience, they're not usually successful in achieving results like world peace and in the end much cheaper just to medicate the lot of them.

 Either way, transaction, transactional and so on, figure pretty large in the current nightmare. "Oh he's just a day trader!" is thrown around like confetti. There's a whole thing around strategic thinking and how incredibly important it is for long term wellbeing. "When I grow up I want to be an astronaut." "Well you need to be good at math." I agree, it's a very depressing answer enough to put anyone off and so much easier just to have someone take a photograph of me in spaceman outfit so that I can look as though I might be an astronaut, or perhaps I'll just get a tattoo. In the three ego-states the adult is the one who can sort of see both sides, thinks more strategically, and has a basic understanding that hoping for miracles is no substitute for an informed opinion based on a wide, wide range of possibilities, followed by disciplined attempt at objectivity. Something like "you'll end up digging trenches for a living," is a long way from adult behavior, that would be a more parental reaction. But, "I wish you the very best of luck becoming an astronaut," followed by a shrug would be grown up. One thing's for certain anyone who tries to secretly sneak a sun tanning bed into their domicile falls into the category of child. An ego-state that is vulnerable and a real pain in the neck unless in the interpersonal transaction your own ego state is that of parent.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Origins of Q

I'd argue the early iterations of Q where in the ideas of Sorel, his myth of the general strike and the role a potential for violence played in sobering up ruling elites to prevent them from becoming totally obnoxious of attitude and appalling in their behaviors toward the common man. No accident that Q emerged sometime in the last half of the last century in Italy, an often divided land where Sorel's book hit a chord amongst the Italian Fascists. This Italian Q, (60's, 70's something like that) was one of those handbooks for politically left leaning activists who when considering the problem of Capital concluded that a myth of some sort would succor the flagging spirits of and reawaken an interest in radical change from the working class by offering a sense that despite all appearances to the contrary, "Things were actually happening." Not just little things, but really big and important things which when the time was deemed right would suddenly come together, all would be revealed, a paradise on earth, or at least affordable health insurance.

 Can't find the handbook, of course, probably have to go to a vault in Moscow, but it was basically a collection of intertwined rumors that these days most would put in the category of a well considered conspiracy theory. The work of the activist was to spread one rumor from the handbook, which as it found its way into a community would meet other rumors from the handbook and it was a like a Bingo moment for the innocent, who in their turn would become believers in the idea that "things were actually happening" and best not to be left out. Not sure the Italian Q had any great success, Italy back then had recently struggled through fascism, it's citizens were still pretty wise around crackpot ideas that contained a ludicrous promise. In the USA there's some debate about Q's reemergence, but I'd guess it was either some venal male of our species from the Alt Right looking to experiment with mayhem in pursuit of his ultimate purity, or a Leftist practical joke designed around the idea of making Trump supporters look idiotic and at the same time make a few more dollars on accessories and t-shirts to sell at Nuremberg style rallies. If you've not been to one, out in the free parking there's a smorgasbord of stalls selling hats and collectables, and naturally for Q memorabilia there's E-trade. 

Monday, August 13, 2018


Less than a hundred years ago there was an advert for a brand of lighter which included the expression "a flick and it's lit." A catchy phrase designed by bright young minds to entice an innocent customer into choosing a brand of lighter which I think was called Ronson. "What's this got to do with Q-Anon?" I hear the call. The answer can be found in a word that emerged in the 1960's which took it's cue from a 1930's movie called Gaslight. The movie was about a devious husband who in the course of being up to no good had decided the drive his wife insane by persuading her that she'd lost touch with the real and had become delusional. The word Gaslighting is hard to avoid, you can't really get up in the morning without experiencing an attempt designed to manipulate the way you think, but in the long list of civic horrors Q-Anon stands alone because in a sense we are all adherents to one version or other of it. We all believe something and when our beliefs are challenged we can quickly be persuaded to believe things that cannot be true.  What's the matter with you - just look at symbol for the United Nations, the earth is very obviously flat and if the earth wasn't flat and saucer shaped, you'd fall off it.

All very well getting worked up and over excited around ideas that suggest reality is virtual, that nothing is real outside of quotation marks, it's a mental stage upon which we prance, and yet thinking that way is a luxury best left to the common rooms that serve latte. One view is this. Generations ago we lived in tropical trees, we built well appointed and comfortable nests and we were blissfully happy unless one of our number chose to look beyond our horizon in the search for something else. Usually we'd do the right thing and toss such a character out of the nest, let him or her fall to a horrible death as a warning to others. Then our trees began to die and reality suggested that if our being was to survive we'd have to find new ways of being. It was the horizon that beckoned, an impossible place, flat treeless and without hope. It wasn't a genetic change that permitted us to adapt, it was the confluence of our being confronted by reality, a moment of truth rather than anything that made any sense. Boldly, with just the occasional gnashing of teeth and some grumpiness, we ventured forth into an unknown future. Q-Anon, if you ask them, will tell you everything's under control and going exactly according to the plan that's far too complicated for simple voters to fully comprehend. Me, I'm not convince. Incidentally, the Ronson lighter from a secondhand stall cost six pence, it needed unavailable parts and it never lit, it's a purchase that will live in infamy. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Bull of Heaven

Difficult to avoid contemplating the more dire of future possibilities, ogres abound, the ghost of Governor George Wallace is eagerly knocking on doors and MAGA has become an aesthetic for the truly brick wall puerile. Not a big believer in the 16th century quatrains of Nostradamus, yet interpreting the mystery of the future remains one of those perennials of consciousness, a bugaboo of awareness, which today is as awesome in its majesty as it was back in the day when Gilgamesh having killed the Bull of Heaven had his vision of his dead friend during which his friend went on a bit about what a terrible, terrible place Hell was. Nor did our hero find much solace in the vision, in fact it depressed him mightily. And if you're eyebrows are raised it's Sunday, dress up for church day, think about self in relation to other, and here we're not talking in relation to mechanical devices or Compost Piles. The point being "a shining city on the hill" is so badly tarnished by the machinations of earthly passions the future this side of some kind of painless death looks increasingly grim. And at the same time some of us might still cling to the idea that all things are relative, the Dark Ages weren't totally devoid of happiness, men and women laughed, children played with sticks in the puddles, contentment was defined by a satisfied stomach and Saints did stuff like turn lice into crocodiles so that none of us had to ask science or education to answer the question why? Yes indeed, the Dark Ages were a much simpler time, ignorance the most blissful of opiates, a heavy drinking for any mind searching for an oblivion in the slurry of alternatives states. By George! it used to be fun, rum punch, gin, washed down with Budweiser, a good substitute for Brains Ale still alive and warm from the barrel.

Never been certain why or whether Enkidu, Gilgamesh's friend, was in Hell, but Enkidu was kind of like Esau who biblical scholars will tell you was "an hairy man." A wild outdoor kind of person who hunted and gathered for a living, retained an ill-disciplined purity of understanding which slicky-boys from the more city-like habitats consider very un-cool unless it involved shopping, impressing girls or country music. And if there is one, these genuine wild outdoor type characters do kind of miss the point about civilization, the responsibilities of leadership, regular bathing, stuff like comprehending complex ideas in conjunction with good fashion sense. In short, a successful and good king has to be prepared to embrace the quill and parchment, pour out his heart into something like the Psalms of David as a penance for the sins of high ambition and lust for power, a sadness in his soul. If he's incapable of doing so, insists he's perfect, he's basically the servant of the Devil and should be burnt at the stake or hung from a balcony in an Italian City, and if he dies in his bed history already has the Mark of Cain on his forehead, no shortage of typewriters to remind the world of a reprobates abominable passage through it. When Gilgamesh first came to power he was a veritable scoundrel, cruel, self serving and just very nasty. He died a much wiser man, but his sins could never be forgiven, he'd killed the Bull of Heaven for goodness sake, which is why the account of his life is described by the university types and hangers on as a tragedy. Meanwhile, four and a half thousand years later, it does seem there's a kind of fratricide that's put a Mark of Cain on the Party of Lincoln. Fair warning, tomorrow I'll compare and contrast the Luddite reaction to automated textile equipment toward the end of the Napoleonic Wars with the DNC from 1992 to the present. To quote the well medicated Elvis, "It will fascinate you."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Engine Trouble

I think the First World War started in August, so best not to pretend that everyone heads for the book shops or swimming pools, deck chairs, beach outfitters and summer holidays, and that nothing happens in August. Here where I live there's immense tension around a bad tempered and cantankerous small engine that cannot be removed from its mowing blade. The machine has been sitting around for far too long and the cause of tension revolves around the extent to which the engine is worth repairing or whether it joins that thunder cloud of contraptions in the barn that comprise the 99% chance of being dragged off to the twice annual county's amnesty for old bits of metal, appliances, everything else except rusted out fence wire. In the good old days of course citizens would just throw stuff off the cliff, watch it splash into the Green River, and then with a job well done wander on home to bathe in the suavity of their well appointed and entirely functional barn, with plenty of room to maybe play ping-pong, or tenniquoites, or possibly beach bowling or corn-hole without risking tetanus shots or a trip to the emergency room.

 The engine is a 6hp Briggs and Stratton which soon after emerging from its cardboard box somehow in the summer of 1997 or 1998 became permanently bonded to a mowing blade. The machine itself has since been modified so as to enhance its capacity to serve and basically it needs a new pretty much everything. The question is the cost of new parts for an engine, never easy or peaceful staring at the price list, and more often than not following those sort of major tickling experiences an engine is still in a deep sulk and has no intention of doing anything useful, like at least pretending to start. So after long discussion my side of the engine/gardener relationship has offered a new genuine head gasket from the mail order, about $5, none of this stuff that comes in a tube from Big Lots and is impossible to get off but which only cost about a $1.50. As well as all those none metal bits that make up a carburetor will be new from mail order, they all cost about $4.00. And I'm going to go nuts by spending $9.00 on a brand new breather with gasket so the plug doesn't keep fouling and the exhaust doesn't blow black smoke. With slow magazine rate shipping we're talking something like $28.00, which I reminded the engine is dozens and dozens of those Raspberry filled doughnuts!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Current Events

Your correspondent has caught up with several interpretations of current events, a truly painful experience. On the one hand a Russian Mole was recently fraudulently elected to the Office of President of these here Unite States and is successfully plotting the overthrow of Liberal Democracy. On the other hand an anonymous force for good is well entrenched in the state apparatus, their secret plan to turn the United States into a Valhalla on earth for white males is well underway and any minute now all evil people and their children will be taken away in pickup trucks and disposed of quietly. And if you don't believe me this anonymous force is apparently leaving bread crumbs for us all to follow and their crack pot leader may or may not be be making an appearance at a Nuremberg style rally at a sports stadium near you sometime in the next couple of months so that you let off a bit of steam by yelling blasphemies at the Free Press.

A third interpretation includes the even stranger idea that any minute now the earth will open up, horsemen carry phishing rods will emerge from the lower rungs of Silicon Valley and finally put an end to the nightmare of individual consciousness upon earth. Apparently they all have Facebook Pages and factories full of Trolls, and each one of them knows where each one of us lives, so probably best to tread warily around the internet for the foreseeable future incase you get led astray and next Saturday suddenly and through no fault of your own find yourself on the DC metro dressed up as a medieval knight in riot gear preparing to do battle with the forces of chaos. So it's all very exciting out there. Meanwhile there's no way I'll be going to another vigil for the victims where I can pretend to pray and look holy unless the God Thor or perhaps Saint Winifred promises to make an appearance. Each to his own, I guess.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

De Sales

I'd argue that a more recent version of the Cult of Diana or as the Greeks referred to her, Artemis, would be something like a Florida Nuremberg Rally.  In the imagination Diana began her existence as a simple Goddess of Nature, which back then was as much about hunting the woodlands for protein as it was about organic gardening. Soon enough the clouds lifted and in some parts Diana or Artemis became more to do with harnessing the unknown powers of nature by doing things like boiling up Eye of Newt and Toad Tongues. It was and still is a sorcery that relies for its effectiveness upon returning to instinctual fears, lusts and passions as opposed to the logic of someone like Euclid, and I would add Pythagoras to the list of the reasonable, but Pythagoras' own Cult tended to believe that there wasn't much difference between witchcraft and mathematics they were fairly convinced their master could be in two different places at the same time, nor does anyone really believe their conception had anything to do with quantum states rather it was just something they wanted to believe their master capable of. It's quite understandable of them, my own understanding of blockchains is they are mystical and will forever be beyond my understanding and yet apparently they're all over the place.

It's kind of like falling off the wagon of sensibleness, I suppose. You know it's nuts and yet what with one thing and another you're suddenly allowed to think and say and do exactly what you want to because it just feels right, natural and perfectly good. The hard won years of civil discourse and the good diet of politeness are tossed aside, out comes the demon and you suddenly find yourself chasing down and beating to death an eighty year old Bishop of Ephesus, a good and rather bossy man called Saint Timothy, who just happened to think that Diana or Artemis was on the wrong tack and that those who had made a cult out of her were being led badly astray and would probably all end up in a purgatory of their own making where the best they could all do would be to gnash their teeth at each other. Nor can I find any evidence that might suggest that the good Bishop of Ephesus had reached a ripe old age had gone a little barmy from a sense of depression about his world and was ready to hasten his own end time by confronting a procession through the streets of his city in honor of the Goddess of the Hunt. Not sure what sense the Church makes these days, but high five and many cheers to Saint Francis de Sales, a humble man, a great orator and writer who died in the December of 1622 while sleeping in a gardener's hut, worth noting he's the patron Saint of Journalists, not of Pundits.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Banjaxed V Gobsmacked

After very difficult, five day negotiations the least favorite member of the Angelic Host and your correspondent have finally achieved a template for progress that relies primarily on that theory of weather systems that begins with the beautiful suggestion that a Butterfly alighting upon a Lotus bloom in Kyoto will have an effect upon the weather in Los Angeles. A holistic approach that accepts uncertainty and which produces such ideas as a "20% chance of showers." As an example of this template, the Nodding Donkey has been given a 10% chance of ever being anything other than a ridiculously heavy weight which occasionally has to be moved. The furnace has a 2% chance of being useful. Rototillers 7.5% chance. All of which means a useful theory for the Great Barn Tidy Up is developing, and that's at least 80% of the battle.

And for those who may have begun to wonder whether I have been lost to a dementia, consider the alternatives for a reasonably active geriatric who's been pretty much banjaxed since the November of 2016.  Some will insist that gobsmacked is the better expression, but it does seem that a person can only really be gobsmacked maybe ten or fifteen times in a lifetime otherwise it could be that there might be something slightly wrong with a person who's constantly being gobsmacked by one thing or another. Banjaxed, on the other hand, is in many ways a less startled, more enduring word. No surprise you're late to work because the alarm clock was banjaxed.  At the same time ‘Many of the best experiences of life, as well as some of the worst, have come about as a result of being banjaxed.’ Not sure who wrote it, but I kind of know what it means and there's a 52% chance it means what I think it means.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Gibbon and Madison

Always worth wondering where Madison got his aversion to Factions as an obvious means to organize multiple and disparate ideas into constructive, useful, gentlemanly debates. And the answer might have to do with Gibbon's Decline and Fall. At the end of the work Gibbon makes an attempt to tell his reader why the Roman Empire Fell. Like all honest men he explained that he couldn't really think of a hard and fast reason, rather he understood it as a series of failures. One of those failures, and I'll have to paraphrase because it's alluded to throughout the book, was the capacity of powerful people in their single minded pursuit of their own interests to lose touch with the source of their power, which is a vibrant, cooperating society that daily welcomes the future as a wealth of possibilities.

The result of self interest for Rome was a corruption of a shared idea of the Empire, and indeed factions within the empire became so besotted by the possibilities of winning points for their own side they totally forgot that beyond their borders other societies were way more cohesive, a great deal more enthusiastic and not so convinced of their own society's invulnerability. An Eastern Emperor, for example, became so enraged and threatened by the incredible successes and popularity of his much feted admiral who'd won several important battles at sea that instead of rewarding the man for enhancing the Empire, securing it against foreign enemies, the Emperor had the man disposed of. Don't know about you, but I hear echoes of this kind of blinkered selfishness that becomes outright destruction.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Fortunately I spotted a posse harassing the Hosta blooms in the late afternoon yesterday, and like anyone else who struggles with Juveniliustrochilidaphobia my immediate instinct was to remain indoors for the next couple of weeks, but being a bold and often Bolshevik sort of male of our own species this morning I chose instead to dress accordingly. No white, no red, no blue, nothing flashy, and I wore a brown oil stained trousers to protect my peaky white blotchy legs. Luckily the morning was cloudy with showers which is not an ideal condition for the boisterous and out of control, murderous little vandals that pass for the youth of Hummingbird, but unluckily it did mean I was reduced to wrenching some sort of order back into the barn and this meant enduring the ordeal of sharing time with my least favorite member of the Angelic Host, who for some unknown reason decided to remain in residence here rather than get the first bus to Washington DC, he'd be a shoe-in for the current administration.

At issue between us today was the mechanism for a Nodding Donkey, two ancient rototillers, a wheel barrow wheel and a gas furnace with an air conditioner unit which would have been run by a compressor in a heat pump..... I finally came out said "What are these things doing in the barn?" But it's always the same with the Angel of Greed, he declares himself entirely innocent and blames me. "They didn't cost you anything and you never know they could be useful for something." And it's that sort of temptation that often makes me wonder whether the Angel of Greed is one of those fallen Angels who just gloms off others. Then in a somewhat sneering manner he said, "There was a time when you had no problem lifting the Nodding Donkey." "That's exactly my point," I shot back. "It's time to get rid of almost everything in the barn." And we both agreed that I'm looking at some kind of winter project, certainly not something any one in their right mind would even think about doing until something like January, maybe February 2021...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Very Likely Yes

I guess you actually have to occasionally answer the telephone on the off chance it's one of those surveys that grant an opportunity to combine your opinion with the opinion of others and contribute to an Opinion Poll. It was in the early 1990's when I was last asked to contributed to an Opinion Poll, something about NAFTA. The questions were so simplistic I had a poor reaction to being treated like a halfwit and when the survey taker finally suggested I should just answer the question with a yes or no I was hung up on. For reasons that totally escape me I remember the exchange with a degree of clarity. When I got off the phone, the Artist had suggested I might like to lie down for a bit.

An Opinion Poll I'd wish to participate in would contain no question such as "Do you think NAFTA is a good idea?" with option of either saying yes or no. However, an Opinion Poll which first asked how much I knew about NAFTA, where I got my information about NAFTA from and then suggested I give a rough précis of how NAFTA would work, that's what I call a request for an Opinion. But if today I was asked "Has the former Soviet Union's Comintern finally discovered the honey pot that produced a bridgehead in the United States and is that bridgehead the GOP and can we anticipate another aggressive reach for territory by the Russian State before the USA's November Midterms and will there be a pogrom of suspected US assets within Russian State?" Then the answer is "Very Likely Yes."

Sunday, July 15, 2018


In 1943 Stalin officially dissolved the Comintern so as to make nice with his allies Roosevelt and Churchill. The Comintern can politely be thought of as Leninist outreach with strings attached soon followed by a power hungry and pragmatic iron fist. Meanwhile there's Finland, which in 2015 ranked top in the world for Human Capital, education and stuff, and was rated the Most Stable country in the Index of Fragile States for the years 2011-2016, in 2018 the index rewarded the USA with the status of Most Worsened.  So it's a good day to talk about the word Bromance. It's a relatively recent introduction to the English Language. We're talking the 1990's, early 2000's. The definition includes "non-sexual," so it's not about boys banging boys or wrestling in leotards. But the definition does include the word  "homosocial," which means it has to do with some kind of relationships between boys. In the old days, and we're talking the good old days, a bromance was usually referred to as a Romantic Friendship, and in the good old days the word Romantic and Friendship when both were applied to boys raised eyebrows all over the place, made boys blush, and any suggestion that a homosocial relationship between boys was intense and/or emotional resulted in deep dives into sacred texts for suitable punishment, followed by reeducation and possible jail time. My first point would be why invent the word Bromance when Romantic Friendship covers the whole area of discourse perfectly. The obvious answer, we boys are very fragile and we need our own word that doesn't sound sissy when we're conjoined in the task of sighting our AR 15's.

My second point has to do with Tyrants, from the old Greek word meaning an absolute ruler upon whom there are no restrictions. Picture if you will a Romantic Friendship, or a Bromance, between two Tyrants. Not easy to do. Real Tyrants tend toward an attitude that eschews anything that might be tainted by personal weakness, something like trust is out of the question, what Tyrants prefer is complete pathological control over any relationship. To find a better understanding it might be necessary to go to another aspect of the homosocial which has to do with the relationship between Master and Apprentice, more recently framed in the fruitier terms of Mentor and Mentee. Generally in this relationship the Master regards the Apprentice as a hapless idiot but useful, he makes the tea, fetches the wrench, carries the bag and as long as he does so he might learn something about plumbing or delivering milk, or whatever. The Apprentice on the other hand regards the Master in a more adoring manner, not so much a God who must be obeyed, rather an Apprentice's passion is a deep, purring admiration for his master. The other thing to recall is that as far back as the 1920's the Soviet Comintern was very busy in the USA and in Europe endeavoring to undermine the very idea of Democracy. They had big plans for the USA. Back then US industrial unions were deemed unfruitful, too middle class, self interested and dull, it was the founder of the AFL Sam Gompers with his suspicion of politicians and socialism and his acceptance of "the business of business is business" that defined US labor best, still does. So for paradise to happen in the USA it was a Race War the pragmatists in the Comintern wanted. We snowflakes of course would have been sent the Gulags of the Midwest.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Circumstantial Evidence

In some places it's called Tradecraft, and you go to school to learn it. There's homework, books to read, tests, field trips and everything. The art of the Honey Trap is more than likely on the syllabus, and you might even learn that this art is not all about what's politely called a romantic liaison. Rather, honey is better thought of as Temptation, and we people are prone to all sorts of temptation. The secret is little by little, slowly, slowly, insight by insight until all of a sudden there's a hook in the flesh and the subject is pulled into what should be if properly done an invisible net. Call it seduction, if you like. In the end the art of the Honey Trap works on that part of each of us which has to do with cognition, the processes by which we understand ourselves in relationship to the world, a judgment that usually requires a half truth or two to combat dissonance so as to make any one of us feel better about ourselves, believing down right lies can make us feel wonderful. And here, you may have an Asset in your net and your opposite number in Tradecraft will be on the hunt for what has often been called a Traitor, which sadly in a US court of law is an offence that requires a mens rea, the act is not culpable unless intent can be proved.

Once in the net some will flop about, fall prey to doubt. Some might realize the net and try to escape. But early on in the process of developing an Asset you'll learn to recognize signs of anything like integrity in your subject, and in discussions with others of your kind you'll come to a decision about whether the effort and resources spent is worth it. So if you're looking for art here, you'll find it in those first impression of your subject. Does he lie easily? Does he think he's cleverer than others? Does he have an unreasonably high opinion of himself? Is he more creepy than he is slimy, or is he just a maggot head? It's kind of like a really well researched personality test for a total bounder and utter rotter. Old hands of course have the quick and ready eye, they can spot them at the other end of the bar. And if your subject has potential, you make room in the filing cabinet, you open a file, you gather your clan to find out as much as you can. Little by little, slowly, slowly you recruit your volunteer so that one day you might get a pat on the head for having mastered your cynical craft. It's a job, some do it for war, some do it for world peace, most do it because it's more fun than betting on Cockroach Races.

Friday, July 13, 2018

King Lear.

I don't know about King Lear. He was very, very old certainly, he preferred flattery to anything remotely associated with honesty, and he got terribly aggravated when one of his three daughters, the one named Cordelia, instead of flattering him to get her share of his kingdom like his other two daughters, chose to speak the truth when her father asked her to tell him how much she loved him and what a brilliant person he was. And too there was a whole thing with slimy, ambitious boy courtiers plotting, and as the King lost his influence he had nowhere to go. Flatterers were all about flattery and they were entirely unreliable scoundrels who were only interested in their careers. The old fool's last hope was with Cordelia who'd been honest with him, otherwise he was just old, unwanted and dotty, an all round whining pain in the neck with absolutely nothing useful to contribute. Oddly, I feel that way sometimes too, it's the Bean Beetle.

But the thing is, in my view, toward the end of the story Lear began to realize that he might have made a mistake, he died of grief clutching Cordelia's hanged corpse. Not sure our very own King Lear is emotionally capable of that. The point is Shakespeare's King Lear was a story, designed to entertain, tug at the heart strings, teach a lesson, send the audience home nodding their heads wisely. The reality of course is always a little different. In exile Napoleon didn't really think he'd made any mistakes, it was his destiny, he'd been chosen. Herr Hitler, for his part, preferred to believe that his people were just not worthy of his unique variety of extraordinary genius, they had failed him, so it was entirely their fault, not his. Meanwhile for our own King Lear there's still a month or so to go before his courtiers think in terms of adopting "Russia – our sacred state, Russia – our beloved country. A mighty will, a great glory – Yours forever for all time!" as their anthem. There's a line in there somewhere, that goes "From the Southern Seas to the Polar Islands."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


 "Air Strip One" was Oceania's name for the British Isles in Orwell's 1984. "It was a nice day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen." Some might recall the story, and the first line of the story. Of the many interpretations of clocks striking thirteen the one that lasts is not that somehow the clocks had been set to military time, rather that something fundamental had changed. Everything that had preceded was suddenly in question and normal was soon to be rewritten.

 Our hero worked in the Ministry of Truth, and there was a moment when he reckoned there was a chance at love, but that was taken from him by deception, and at the end of the story following a very painful visit to the Ministry of Love our hero was reduced to facing his greatest fear, there was no alternative he was in love with Big Brother. Either way, double-think, being able to believe in two contrary things at the same time without being aware of the conflict, is already alive and well. Maybe the clocks are striking thirteen.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Your correspondent might not remember where he was when anything important happened like Kennedy and Martin Luther King being shot or the moon landing but for some reason he does remember where he was when the English Soccer Team last won the World Cup. The English Team had defeated Germany. Can't remember the minor details, but I do remember accidently hearing the results of the game in the earpiece of a hand made crystal radio that was sometimes able to receive the BBC World Service so long as the wire mosquito netting that functioned as the radio's aerial was properly located for radio waves and incorrectly located for keeping the Mosquito at bay, a happenstance described as wanton vandalism which under questioning required truly gymnastic explanations from me. I tried everything from blaming others to falling off chairs, without any kind of success and then it hit me. Meekly and with a little foot pointing, I handed over the precious radio and explained that I was listening out for the results of the World Cup Final.

"Who Won?" was the obvious question and reaching into the wealth of English History and tradition with as much pride as I could put into my shinny little eyes I answered "England!" It was a rock of ages moment. With all my faults and desperate flaws I was a patriot doing what patriots do, rooting for the team, hell bent on victory no matter the personal cost. "What was the Score?" At a young age a person gets a reputation and mine was far from fair. "England Four, Germany Two." In my reply I put a slight cross in my eye, an innuendo wrapped up in a sinister suggestion that my inquisitor might not be all in for England, a foreign grandmother, an aunt who married an Italian, possibly a Baptist or a Catholic, a fifth columnist in English ranks. But desperate times require certain often unappealing and sometimes loathsome tactics. Had my inquisitor known I'd been trying to hear if Bob Dylan and the Band singing Rainy Day Woman had made it to the BBC's half hour pop music program when the program was rudely interrupted by an unhealthy wave of nationalistic fever things might have gone poorly for me. Yes indeed, back when I was a callow youth I'd have been prime material for a job as legal advisor to the current administration.

Sunday, July 8, 2018


I was going to talk about boys dressing up in leotards, embracing each other, grunting and rolling around on rubber mats. I'm sure it's perfectly natural yet I remain of the opinion that it should be an activity reserved for the privacy of a bedroom and not something that requires not only a coach but also locker rooms, community showers, universities and spectators. Fortunately the morning was cool enough for Compost Piles so I was able to discuss the matter with Pindar, the Poet from Thebes, whose odes to the Gods and to Olympian Athletes are difficult to tell apart.

He reminded me that in his day there were no leotards, boys wrestled naked for the edification of older men. The thing about Pindar is his degree of faith in the capacity of us people to achieve a degree of harmony through the grace of the gods. We come into the world as sinners and are free to chose but it's the gods who reward and doing stuff like lying or making things up or not following the facts so as to fool the gods is not only a grave, grave long term error, it's also unsporting. The sad fact is that it's always rather boring when Pindar starts preaching. Some of us had to wait for the Romans before we could do things like toss people into cages full of hungry Lions.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


The Celts had high regard for Bees. One of the more soothing understandings had to do with the relationship between Bees and the Other World. There was no escape, you had to tell Bees everything. Most important, if someone died you had to tell the Bees before the funeral otherwise all hell broke loose. It was the Roman occupations and Christian missions which melded many of the old ideas into new ideas. But up there in the higher, harder lands "If you wanted to know what the Druids knew, you asked the Bees." Must have been a secret knowledge. Some of the early Irish Christian saints for purposes of evangelism held to the idea that it was the Bee that carried the soul to heaven. Either way, in them old Celtic days I'd imagine if you died of a Bee sting you'd clearly done something very wrong indeed.

The Other World exists between the ears. The Celts reckoned that through trances you could get closer to it, and here mead was quite useful. The more you lived in the Other World, the more familiar you became with it. Astral Travel, despite its inherent duality, is another way of looking at it. You went to a place and a part of you leaves your body, goes wandering into bold new frontiers, a Star Trek for the more emotional, less reasonable ambitions. From my own perspective this area of contemplation has become a sleep aid. You can stop the spinning mind with a story that takes you to the same place where it finds the same patterns and you do what Mockingbirds do to song, you extemporize the noises of narrative. Nothing too exciting or stressful to the imagination, that does no good. Nor can it be boring or dutiful, because you have to look forward to it and no one looks forward to counting Sheep. Trust me, it gets easier with practice, years and years and years of practice.

Friday, July 6, 2018


Those of us who researched their Citizenship Test soon found out that some questions were very frequently answered incorrectly. One such question was "Who makes the laws?" Despite twenty years of living in the United States, reading the news, becoming furious around the subject of rightward leaning politicians, deciding Bill Clinton's Democratic Party was a traitor to the working class, my instincts well tuned to flash-lights instead of torches, gas instead of petrol, my instinct also suggested the answer to this question was, "The Supreme Court." The correct answer to this question however, is "The Congress makes the laws."

Meanwhile there was the issue of "What does the rule of law mean?" An obvious answer, "Depends on the color of your skin, who you know and how rich you are." Then there was, "Why did the Pilgrim father's come to America?" There are a number of obvious answers to this question, but a passing grade requires the answer to have something to do with freedom to practice their own interpretation of the Sacred Texts. All the same, when the youth in the cowboy boots announced that I'd passed my Citizenship Test, I felt kind of pleased with myself, almost as though I'd joined some kind of Secret Society for people who were really good at BS. But, it's the same the whole world over, so love it or leave it I guess.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Birds and Bees

Birds and Bees, a rich tapestry. You got the annual flowers, the likes of Zinnia, Cosmos, Cleome and others with names that go in one ear and out the other to give comfort to the soul and the Butterflies and do right by the pollinators through the hot months. Not so many Honey Bees, but there's the Little Bumble Bee, the solitary Mason Bee and someone else whose tiny legs are so fat with pollen it's a marvel they can fly. Then you got the loitering Goldfinch, a street corner gang, sitting along the garden fence waiting for Tomato blooms to achieve perfection so they can swoop down and rob those blooms of any chance of achieving fruit. I imagine it's a delicacy in their community. Makes a gardener think seriously in terms of something like a Raptor, a pocket Falcon of some sort. I have read that high humidity and still air can also foil the Tomato bloom, if so not sure what to do about that.

And given the current conditions in the outdoors nor is an un-paired boy Summer Tanager any kind of boon to the dour calmness of being which so essential to a functioning  and balanced gardener. Every year it's the same, there's always one. Tanagers are amongst other things Bee Eaters, they have the stubby sharply pointed beak, and if you happen to be an attached boy Summer Tanager with responsibilities you're inclined toward a shady perch from which to keep an eye on the annual blooms. Straight as an arrow you'll dart like a red flash and there'll be one less pollinator in the world. But if you're an un-paired boy Summer Tanager your passion around fruiting becomes such that you'll sit high in the top branches and fill the air with a sound so monotonously grating you can pretty much turn a struggling gardener into a blithering pile of overheated raw nerves. And no good letting off steam by shouting, just seems to encourage them and you can lose the false teeth in your Beans.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Years ago your correspondent was what they call a floater. The more puerile might raise a nostril, but being a floater for Co-Op Milk was noble work. You turned up at 3 am, and if any of the fifteen odd milkmen failed to show, you had to get hold of the milkman's delivery logbook and do their milk round. Once, maybe twice a week, sometimes for weeks on end you'd get a milk round, otherwise your main job was making tea for the supervisor, running the Bedford TK to deliver to schools, canteens and the university, hosing down the milk yard and arranging empty milk crates. One of the problems of being a floater was you never got to learn a milk round with any great intimacy and of the 365 or 366 days in the year the only day you got off was Christmas day. At the same time, more often than not, you'd be on your walk home by around 6 am.

Most milkmen kept the information concerning their milk round in their heads rather than in their logbooks, which meant that most logbooks were pretty much useless except for working out the order of the deliver round. The office had a master list of customers associated with each round, so at least when you left  the milk yard you had rough idea of how many milk bottles went on which doorstep and how many crates went into which corner shop. One much older milkman had a logbook that was entirely devoid of any entries, except for one. The address was a corner shop and news agent in the older part of the city. In large letters the entry read, 'Biscuit.' And Lo it was one of those small overweight harmless looking friendly dogs with a wagging tail and a smile on its tongue that would waddle in your direction, and if you were carrying a crate of milk and if you didn't give it a biscuit it would grab your trouser leg in its jaws and was almost impossible to politely shake off. My own equally unhelpful contribution to that particular logbooks sole entry was '---in bowl on shelf by door.'

Monday, July 2, 2018

Local Gossip

The Kitten was an infinitely better gardening companion when she was a kitten. Fond memories of her sniffing Beetles, she was fascinated by and a little nervous of Grasshoppers, marveled at the Zebra Tail Butterflies on the Coriander blooms. I remember her resting in dappled shade under a Squash leaf, she was panting from the excitement of it all. A most endearing little creature she was. Not these days. It's more like having a Wild Boar in the vegetable garden, no plant, insect or animal is safe from her except, I thought, Moles who appear to delight in raising her ire to the point where in pursuit of them she can pretty much dig up an Asparagus Crown, which is not an easy thing to do without a shovel or opposable thumbs. Certainly a noble cause, but no use explaining to her that many, many generations ago in the good old days when domestic pets where a protein source of last resort the cause against Moles was lost. The Moles and their allies in Madison Avenue won and ever since gardeners have been suckers for a snake oil salesman with a wheelbarrow organizer and life time guarantee on a Mole Trap.

I told the Kitten of a headmaster at one of those English Boarding schools who shared her absurd attitude to our subterranean overlords. In his private garden he had a Croquet Court, and if for one reason or another you're under the impression that Croquet is a frilly laces and cucumber sandwich game, please disabuse yourself. It's a blood sport of some sort with dangerous clubs and colorful wooden cannon balls and an understanding of grass as billiard table perfect. A Mole hill on his Croquet Court, especially on the Friday morning before he hosted the county's Croquet Tournament, would send the headmaster into apoplexy, and those of us who may occasionally and for no good reason have aggravated him just a little bit very quickly found themselves in Latin Detention. Don't know what it is about Latin teachers, my experience of them suggests they're very badly damaged people who should basically be put on a watch list of some sort. The Kitten took no notice of my assassination of her character and as I picked the last Bush Bean of an incredibly hot morning, there in her mouth was a Mole. Not a big Mole, a little smaller than my thumb, but a Mole nonetheless. On my way out of the garden with half a bucket of Beans, I'm pretty sure she called me an homunculus.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Civil Discourse

What do you do when one side chooses obedience to the rules of the game and the other side does not? There are lessons from military history. Agincourt, where the Longbow put an end to Chivalry. There's Chaka Zulu, who it's been argued changed warfare in Southern Africa from "ritualized taunts with minimal loss of by slaughter." There's the First World War, were many a general insisted that "valor and a nation's fighting spirit" would defeat the machinegun, the tank and long range artillery. If there's a lesson, more likely it's a question, "What's winning worth to you?" And there's years and years of stuff about this from the Sufi Poets imploring princes, through the disciple Mark's "what does it gain a man..." and all the way up to a scandal worse than gerrymandering, the Australian cricketers outrageous cheating in their test match just this year against South Africa, no circle in hell low enough for the bowler Cameron Bancroft, one of those moments some of us wished we believed in the power of prayer. But sadly it's only Medieval Saints like Winfred who can get away with asking God to do things like cause the earth to open and swallow a ne'er-do-well. Which is why I'll certainly be wearing a necklace on her Feast Day, November 3rd. You never know it might work.

In the First World War, Lieutenant General Sir Charles Fergusson, commander of II Corps, said this about the German use of poison gas. "It is a cowardly form of warfare which does not commend itself to me or other English soldiers ... We cannot win this war unless we kill or incapacitate more of our enemies than they do of us, and if this can only be done by our copying the enemy in his choice of weapons, we must not refuse to do so." So there's that to contemplate while pondering the direction of civil discourse. Both Plato and Sartre had much to say about the beginning of things, ideas, especially books, bibles and commandments. Their mutual point being that once it was written, odds are it became a tombstone, flaws like worms eating it away. There are those who will say "Go high, when they go low," and then the Vikings sacked Lindisfarne, not for it's knowledge or learning, but for gold, silver and slaves. And always, always worth recalling the Battle of Maldon. A 991 Saxon defeat which for Saxon England heralded Danegeld, but which for Saxon Poets was something else, "There was shouting heaved up, and ravens circling, eagles eager for carrion—an uproar was on the earth." Every Saxon died bravely of course except for two, the Cameron Bancrofts of the Saxon world, Godwin and Godlat both ran away on the same horse..

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Ortega y Gasset

"I am I and my circumstances."  Life, existence, from birth until death, whatever you want to call it, Ortega Gasset suggested was a drama on the one side of which was necessity and on the other side was freedom. Ortega was a philosopher and a psychologist. He lived through the first part of the 20th Century, he died in his homeland of Spain in 1955. I guess in a way, for Ortega reality was the sum of all human knowledge and experience, an ecology rich with magic and opportunity. There's always debate of course, but outside the drawing room, I would argue that by 'freedom' Ortega was thinking more in terms of 'possibilities' and as everyone knows 'possibilities' are pretty much limited to the point of being absent when men and women become entrenched in an idea that cannot be challenged. Ortega was a Liberal thinker, a shining light to a bunch of Spanish Poets who either died in jail or were forced into exile by Franco's Fascists. And his view of science was a cold shower for those of us who seek salvation from it, he thought it useful but shallow, a fast food jingle in its grasp of the complexities of existence, his word back then was mediocre or ordinary.

In his 1929 book, Ortega argued that Liberal was an extraordinary and truly remarkable form of generosity in which the majority gives rights to minorities. This determination to share existence with an enemy, even when the enemy was weaker, was so supremely noble and against nature that it was no wonder that we people often did our very best to totally get rid of Liberal. It wasn't elites, it wasn't aristocracy or any of the ocracies, it was a discipline of mind toward "I am I and my circumstances" that preserved the splendor of Liberal. Ortega's book was called Revolt of the Masses. The masses, no matter whose masses they were, crush everything, he suggested. Their banner "To be different is to be indecent."  Ortega's point about the masses was simple: they get their way through violence, so if you're interested in the wealth of possibilities avoid letting the masses get their hands on the state. Classically enough both the temporal Ayn Rand and spiritual Gandhi were influenced by Ortega's writing. Not long afterwards Europe was engulfed by violent attempts to obliterate differences. Nowadays the smooth talkers prefer to quote the Uruguayan, Eduard Galeano, global soccer's preeminent man of letters - "History never says goodbye, rather it says, see you later."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Of the domestic pets, the Girl Cat is innately curious, she's so extremely cautious she might even be a little neurotic, she deeply distrusts heavy rain, both loud and little noises, and when there is thunder within earshot she has the amazing capacity to completely disappear for hours and hours. It's a vanishing act which can on occasion lead to anxious caretakers exhausting themselves, risking injury, crawling around on their hands and knees with a flashlight.  Where the expression "kitty-kitty" came from I've no idea, but like me the Girl Cat obviously finds it derogatory and very patronizing, and rightly takes no notice of it whatsoever. It's the sort of coo-coo, woozy-woozy nonsense that no feline in their right mind would take seriously, kind of like naming a cat "Bernard" or "Hubert."

But sometimes an anxious interim primary caretaker can panic, they'll try anything, and yesterday after the thunder and lightening had left us and in anticipation of a possibility the Artist would return from travelling to find the Girl Cat lost to caretaker carelessness, and no good blaming something like a Coyote, I found myself reduced to "kitty-kitty."  Nor was it just one "kitty-kitty," it was several "kitty-kitties." Some button in me must have been pushed that chose to believe it was the tone and quality of my "kitty-kitty" that lacked sincerity, or resolve, or soothing-ness, indeed my final "kitty-kitty" might even have sounded unnerving. It was pathetic behavior on my part, not lost on the Kitten who having a very low tolerance for any kind of interruption to her routine, glowered at me from her day bed and deliberately yawned whenever I politely requested her assistance.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Discourse and stuff

Godwin's research declared that if you mention Hitler in an internet exchange the conversation is likely to end and everyone retreats behind their stockades where they lick their wounds, eat cheeseburgers and ice cream, kind of like Valhalla. He also suggested that the longer an internet exchange continued the probability of Hitler being mention increased to 1, which is pretty much a hundred percent.

His other point I think was that comparing others to Hitler because you disagree with them, or just find them incredibly creepy, belittles the horror of truly appalling figures in history, so why do it? Apart from the assumption that the future is finally secured against appalling figures, it's safe to say that what might or might not be judged "appalling" in civil discourse is like the word family, very clearly something of a moving feast. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Baby Steps to Fascism

I guess if it looks like a Duck, walks like a Duck, and quacks like a Duck, there's a good chance it's a Duck. And it's an odd thing, you can pretend all you want. But I'll tell you this much if our Republic survives the next few years then it'll definitely be a Duck. If it doesn't then there'll be a picture of a Duck in every Post Office, Martin Luther King Avenues will be renamed Quack-Quack Boulevards, and from sea to shining sea there'll be a dunes of faces wondering what happened to the internet. Well, you don't need me to tell you.

Despite the pleadings of Saint Godwin, an unrecognized saint, one of the problems bureaucracy faced was what to do with so many people. One idea was labor camps. Work will make you free. Another was a more Final Solution which would have been pretty expensive until the best minds came up with the idea of gas chambers and furnaces. And you know something else, it all began with a circle jerk rhetoric at rallies that dehumanized the other in the pursuit of making someone great. Sudetenland was like giving in to the wall.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


A member of my extensive parental side had a story about Crows. It was wartime, he'd escaped prison, he was on the run, food and shelter harder and harder to find. One isolated farmhouse became almost like a home, it was high in a valley, and as the night came he'd return from foraging for his own contribution to the warm kitchen table and he could hide in the hills look down at the farm house, check to see whether soldiers were visiting, which they'd do sometimes in their search for partisans, escapees, whatever they could find. The farmhouse had three resident Crows, but a good chance they were Ravens. The birds were fit, well feathered, agile in the sky, they were usually content and they roosted in the farm's ancient stone barn. The farmer was long gone, he'd been killed in the war, the farmer's children, both boys, had grown and were gone to know one knew where, but their elderly mother still managed the farm as she waited for her children to return, and she was pretty good at hiding food and livestock from occupation soldiers who were always hungry, well armed and entitled.

One evening, looking down at the farmhouse, there was no sign of soldiers and the coast looked clear. But the Crows were absent from their evening chatter on the barn roof. Maybe they'd had already settled in for the night. There was a chance with spring on its way they'd set their minds to wandering. Possibly they'd all fallen to a shotgun. There were easy answers. And yet, he remained where he was, cold in the chill and damp just two thousand yards from shelter. In the morning, there was glint of sun on the barn, the farmhouse kitchen door opened, cigarette butts casually tossed to see if the farmer's wife would pick them up, save them from the dew so she could smoke them in her pipe. Then a military vehicle which had been hiding inside the barn fired up it's engine. Off they went so as to be in time for breakfast at their barracks, the Crows circling and silent in the sky above them. And the thing about it was, soon after his escape he'd once been rescued from starvation by a little girl who'd given him a European Robin to eat. Shown him how to cook it, insides and all, nothing wasted. European Robin is about the size of a Sparrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Divide and Rule

Well, well, well, it's give him a Power Tool and Feed Him Meat Products Sunday! In the late Seventies, I guess, Warren Zevon at the end of his Album "Excitable Boy" had a song titled "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money."  If I remember the song was about an American Boy who insisted he was an innocent bystander but had got himself in trouble with a waitress, who might have been a Russian, down in Havana and had somehow ended up in Honduras, and he wanted his Dad to save him from his sorry fate. It was a song about rich innocent boys for whom the world beyond the suburbs was not a playground, unless they had lawyers, guns and money. With song writers it's difficult to know, but lawyers interpret the law, guns enforce the law, and rich Daddies can afford lawyers. Stranger still, on this day in 1885 a ship called Isere, named after a river, docked in New York. In the ship's hold was the Statue of Liberty, all 350 pieces of it packed in 214 crates, a gift of friendship from Les gens de France.

Then you got John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son." Vietnam and the draft. The story goes that President Eisenhower's grandson, David Eisenhower, received a deferment. Our song writer did not, he was off to war without knowing why and he sat on his bed and he cried out,  "It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son!"  "Some folks inherit star spangled eyes... and when you ask them 'How much should we give?' .... They only answer 'More, more, more.'" Mind you not many top of the pops songs tried to hit the big time on the subject of how many thousands and thousands, millions, of families were ripped apart by slavery. Another "Trail of Tears." Sadly, some subjects would be far too much of a downer for our delicate and "Excitable Boys." Me, I celebrated the day through intimate Interpretive Dance, my partner was a Snapping Turtle, our subject was Moral Compass, the music as I led the waltz toward the river was Waterloo by Abba. A truly bonding experience, and there could even be Snapping Turtle eggs safe in the Compost Piles.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Road for Carts

Saul of Tarsus, like Engels, was from a well heeled family of property owning business people. But unlike Engels Saul of Tarsus began his career persecuting ideas that threatened his understanding of the Old Testament. Engels for his part was also restless, he saw his world and reckoned the future could be made better. What happened to Engels is that he discovered Karl Marx. Saul of Tarsus, while on his way to Damascus had a bonk on the head and God, apparently, had a few words with him. Both Saul and Engels were bossy, both men inclined toward pragmatic editing, and to the extent that both men wanted to be shepherds rather than sheep, they might both have been little power hungry. Neither man was self centered to the point of doing something like burning down Rome to improve the view from their domicile. (If you're in doubt about Engels, he enjoyed the English version of Fox Hunting, he had the little outfits and everything.) And, both men had a powerful influence on the movements of mind which spread idea. Engels as Marx and Engels, Saul of Tarsus as Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, and current rising star in the warped world of white nationalist interpretations. With us people, what we are has less to do with the real, more to do with explanations of the real. And in the long run it's a very rich, sometimes apparently deceitful and often uncomfortable, deeply depressing tapestry of possible answers.

Which is why a gardener will sometimes wonder what it might have been like to have been employed by Isaac Newton. It must have been an early bearing Apple tree something like a Beauty of Bath, because the image of Newton is of him enjoying a sit in the sunshine, he might even have been having a cup of cider and a Cucumber sandwich when he saw an Apple fall from his Apple tree. Quite clearly his first reaction was to seek an explanation from his gardener, who was probably doing a little light weeding, maybe a little trimming in an attempt to look politely engaged. His gardener would have patiently explained that unless there's something seriously wrong with them, Apples always fall from their trees and a fall can bruise an Apple which means the Apple might not keep as well, and there'd be a whole set of ideas about the best time to get the ladders out and actually pick Apples to keep them safe from harm. Then when Newton became all excited about having seen an Apple fall down to earth, instead of falling upwards or sideways, Newton's gardener who would have been dour and reserved, kept his thoughts around mental anomalies, alcoholic refreshments in the afternoon and the devil to himself. It was a good job he had in the garden, few prospects but it was regular pay so why risk bruising his employer by pointing out the blatantly obvious. Yes indeed, to make sense of it all, worth remembering the word Career comes to us from the Latin, "a road for carts."

Friday, June 15, 2018

Utter Cads and Liars.

The Ghost in the Machine, or Duality, as those who explore existence often put it. Are we one thing or are we two? Is there a distinction between me and my body? Is there an "I" part of me that exists somewhere above, beyond, inside or outside my body? And if you're brave enough to ask people, some will know straight away, and they can get quite fierce about it, stamp their foot, desperate perhaps, political possibly, and such people can sometimes become a major pain in neck.

 Others will ramble on a little and will often come back with one or other iteration of the idea that concludes something like, "Yes, I think I do go somewhere when I die." In other words they draw a distinction between the temporal and the spiritual without necessary knowing which one of their two parts should be given priority. Me, I still go back to the Palestinian mother who'd just lost her child to a violent exchange. "God is mostly silent," she said. "Yet people do terrible things in his name."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cults and Technical Devices

Very tempting to go on little about the Cult of Personality, draw conclusions from previous examples. For some reason, even though he was a skinny little man, Pol Pot springs to mind. Yet history is awash with those frailties of personality that enable leaders to dominate their followers. I guess too it's a "Great Man" theory which offers purpose through mindless obedience. At the same time, I'm one of those sufficiently obnoxious members of the species who cannot name what might be called a personal hero. Leopards don't count, I'm told. A character flaw possibly, or perhaps far too anxious to spot flaws in others and I am particularly good at spotting flaws in Windows 10. Which this side of the interface does in my view qualify as a Cult of Personality which is right up there with our very own Kara Ĉefo, Esperanto for Dear Leader, a stultulo if ever there was one.

The stress of a failed Windows 10 update and one thing and another was finally solved. However the endless, day long and apparently pointless subsequent updates have clearly expressed their intention to turn my life from an exercise in calm into a Running of the Bulls. Then out of nowhere, and without any prompting from me, I got a message. "Aren't you lucky!" it read. "Your device has just got the latest Windows 10 update..important security..find out what's new...etc, etc..." I was never asked if I wanted anything to do with the updates, I don't feel in the least lucky, the whole thing was just foisted upon me, my time, my emotions, and it's quite a long list. My better instinct is to throw the technical device out of the window and be done with it. Instead I find myself kowtowing to it. It's no wonder we're all doomed.

Monday, June 11, 2018


Not the perfect morning to spend hoeing, or hacking, the neighbors Tobacco Rows. High heat factor, and interesting that the two much, much older fools far outlasted the youth of this fair county, which is why the nation is doomed to become a sloppy pale of lard within the next decade or so. All I can say is to hell with liberal values it's time to ban cell phones, television and definitely time to bring back the Draft, let them waddle around for the drill sergeant.

Kind of worrying really. No idea what happened to me. Could well have something to do with getting old, brain processes losing their ability to grasp nuance before heading off into the gullet of decay. Yet I'll insist that pride in useful physical labor and the capacity to endure it cheerfully is a fundamental human value, or should be. And why? Very good question, it's right up there with the meaning of it all.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


I was going to talk about the lessons to be learned about Free Trade from an understanding of the Corn Laws, the Irish Potato Famine, Vested Interest, the Iron Law of Oligarchy, Populism, the current problems facing the Canadian Liberal Party and why facts are the opposite to wishes. It was going to be a long, soothing explanation that would totally defy the classically elitist codswallop of the now redundant US TPP Negotiators who did insist that the proposed Pacific Rim Treaty was a little like Climate Change, too complicated for the man on the street corner to even begin to understand. But suddenly I felt as though I was an Uncle, or maybe a Great Aunt, or at least a God Parent of some sort, conceivably a Hospital Porter. And I'll tell you why. While enduring the morning chores the first Tree Swallow fledged. Engaged as I was with truly sour and possibly elitist thoughts of my own I didn't actually see it fledge, but there he was on the electric line, admiring his wings, wondering when and how large his tail feathers would grow as he waited for his parental side to pop something tasty in his mouth.

"How do you know it was a he?" Simple, with birds I work on the WRT (white republican theory), the first to fledge is the greediest, biggest, whiniest and least attractive, the others just can't wait to get rid of him. And if you don't believe me, through the course of the mid morning three more Tree Swallows fledged and they gently gathered to preen on the electric line, each little creature a sociable distance between them, and all three a good five to six yards away from he who fledged first. A blissful sight for a Sunday. But of lessons learned there's one wish and one sad fact. I wish no matter their personal reasons, Tree Swallows wouldn't fledge in the mid-day. And the sad fact is that I'm still struggling with sun blindness, a few shivers from lack of water and overheating, a bit of a headache, blocked sinus and a general sense of exhaustion which having a late lunch does absolutely nothing to ameliorate. But on the bright side I can say with a degree of confidence that enduring fledging pains however they arise is right and proper, and perfectly natural. Of interest, and a little depressing, when the time comes Girl Swallows are inclined toward pairing with Boy Swallows who have the longest and most glamorous tail feathers.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting arrive quite early in the year. A person can see little groups of them looking for sustenance in the low grass, on the gravel and they do all seem to get along with each other, chatting about this and that, recalling past moments and yet a keen observer can sense the tension in their midst. A couple of months later, when nests are up and thinking about the possibility of eggs, if a person sees an Indigo Bunting it's more likely to be an Indigo Bunting hell bent on chasing another Indigo Bunting. They're like blue darts screeching across the higher grasses. To my mind this sort of berserker behavior is amongst the first of many depressing sights of summer. Then if you still haven't recognized the signs, you might find yourself already in bed before the sun has troubled to set. And yes, we're talking the Summer Solstice which is up there with Christmas Day as one of the more depressing days of the year.

"Whoa!" I hear the call. "There's a long time to go until the leaves fall to the frost, there's days and days of canning for you to get excited about, beets for you to pickle, Johnson grass to wage war upon, that sort of thing. And there's compost for you to get worked up about. You might even get another chance to to throw stones at the Bald Eagle if he comes too close. Life's far too short......" All of which totally misses the point. From about the two weeks before Summer Solstice until Winter Solstice, some of us spend far too many of our important contemplative hours wondering whether the six months between Summer and Winter Solstice is a down hill slope or an uphill slope. It's a big question, that lurks in the way that a Saber Toothed Tiger might once have lurked around a playpen for the bright young stars of the Stone Age, back in the day before we got all hoity-toity around bronze. The thing is, for me at least, sometime on the day of Winter Solstice this big question just disappears, evaporates, off into the mist, like magic until something like Indigo Buntings start having a go at each other.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Right Foot

Your correspondent has been informed that raspberry donuts, ice cream, peeled grapes and lardy cake are no cure for an ailment of the right foot that has one of those difficult to pronounce and impossible to spell Latin names which always sounds as though a person should give serious consideration to a final testament.

Plantar comes from the Latin word for sole of the foot. Fascia is a term for connective tissues that surround muscle, blood vessels and nerves. Fasciitis is an inflammation of that connective tissue. Fascism comes from a Fraidy-Cat Lumpen Right, which is interesting because my left foot doesn't feel in the least nervous.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Windbreaks and Nesting.

Always stressful when birds chose to nest in or near the vegetable garden. One year the Close Mockingbird pair had their nest in what, to make it sound functional, we gardeners like to call a windbreak. This windbreak is on the more northern fence around the vegetable garden, the feeble excuse being to keep anti-social and sometimes fierce north winds in check. It wasn't always a windbreak. It started out as a pair of Apple trees, which after very severe instructions from me did for a while become what's called an Espalier and they did look elegant for about ten days a year. These days it's more of a bunch of green stuff with a climbing rose twined into it, all if it has to be hacked back at least three times a year. The whole thing is a pest hole for the Cedar Rust, and it should really be dug up and ceremoniously burned. But the northern windbreak is ideal for nesting and there's a particular Lichen that grows on the trunks of the Apples that employs the x factor of fascination to ensure the security of its home. It's one of those Lichens which toward the end of the year decide to send up stalks that look like little beady eyes.

When the Close Mockingbirds had their nest in the windbreak I could glance at their two chicks, I'd get an "aren't they perfect" from the proud male of their pair and he'd go on about his business. In subsequent years it's become quite  fashionable for members of the local Chipping Sparrow community to nest in the windbreak, in the Cucumbers, the climbing Squash, pretty much anywhere. But one of the things about Chipping Sparrows is no matter how much I tiptoe around if I go anywhere near one of their nests they go straight for the hat and I have hell to pay. This year a pair of Tree Swallows adopted a nest box which I'd casually attached to a fence post to keep it dry while I gave huge consideration to a more appropriate location. Being tourists I assumed Tree Swallows would be over bearing, obnoxious, critical and full of themselves, but they've been a total joy to share the garden with, no snapping at me, none of this Chipping Sparrow Rottweiler behavior from them. Their chicks of course are a different matter. Recently if I go anywhere near their box, there's a bunch of noise, a big quarrel and out pops the greediest little head expecting to be fed. The maw is a bright, custard yellow. And you have to wonder what places and sights that mouth will see when time comes to fly away.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

John Lackland

Around the time of King John, who was in some respects a competent man, he was a fairly good general, he had a vague understanding of the executive branch, there was an idea amongst the rulers that kings were essentially above the law, and their justification for this idea was sometimes referred to as "Divine Majesty." This idea asserted that a king was subject to no earthly authority, a person's ascension to the thrown was the will of God. Oddly, Divine Majesty is making a bit of a come back here in the United States. Indeed a radical and wealthy Christian outfit which for some absurd reason is called Liberty University, is hoping to further its fundamentalist cause by funding a movie that will attempt to encourage the idea that the current President of the United States was chosen by God. It strikes me that such obsequious star-effing so bites the big one a person has to wonder whether events since the end of the Early Stone Age ever happened. And it's true Aboriginal Peoples of Australia held the view that waking hours were more likely fantasy, it was the dream world of sleep were reality actually existed, so we got that to hold on to.

 King John, who was a Norman King of Saxon England, struggled with appalling social skills which included being very petty, very spiteful, very cruel and red-headed. But after all, he had been chosen by God, so how could he go wrong. During his reign he fought a war against the King of France and he succeeded in losing Normandy, the land of the Normans, which is or was no small territory in the north eastern part of France. One of the main reasons he lost the war was his attitude toward what you might call his natural allies, he pissed the hell out of them. In those days when kings lost territory it kind of aggravated the populace. The loss of territory was usually a big financial hit to the upper income group. Lower down the scale, the common man, or peasant, would probably begin to wonder whether God might have made an error of judgment which always aggravated the priests. It's also the case that primarily as a consequence of John's appalling social skills and his zoo of self serving Liberty University type courtiers, so infuriated both Norman and Saxon Land owners that in 1215 they ganged up and forced him to sign the Great Charter or the Magna Carta, which did absolutely nothing for most of us but which I always thought was at least the beginning of the end of this Divine Majesty nonsense.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Crossword Puzzles

Tomorrow is the anniversary of D Day. On the 5th of June 1944, which would have been 74 years ago today, weather conditions and the forecast along the English Channel for a full scale invasion of Europe were a long way from ideal, and it was down to one man to make what must have been a very, very hard decision. The man's name was Eisenhower, he became the 34th President of the United States, his classic adage, "plans are useless, planning is indispensible." Two years before D Day, in the August of 1942, a force of around six thousand mostly Canadian soldiers had crossed the English Channel to conduct a raid on a French Port Town called Dieppe. The objective of the Dieppe Raid was to hold the Port Town for two tides and then scuttle back to the English Islands. The purpose of the Dieppe Raid had as much to do with demonstrating willingness to die on beaches as it had to do with gathering intelligence and learning lessons about how best not to die on beaches. Brave men indeed.

In the days leading up to the Dieppe Raid an English Newspaper called the Daily Telegraph had a crossword puzzle clue, "A French Port" and it was six letters. The answer was Dieppe. All hell broke loose in the security services, who quickly convinced themselves that the clue was obviously the work of a foreign agent disguised as a crossword puzzle compiler for the Daily Telegraph sending messages to the enemy. Intensive investigations concluded it was total coincidence. In the days leading up to D Day the Daily Telegraph's same crossword puzzle compiler again had innocent looking clues, very suspicious answers to which included, "Mulberry," which was the name for a secret floating harbor. "Utah," which was the secret name for one of the landing beaches near a small town that has the beautiful name of La Madeleine. And "Overlord," which was the secret name for the invasion of Europe. Again all hell broke loose in the security services, and again the answers to the clues were deemed entirely coincidental.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Straight from the Fridge

Once upon a time Kerouac was asked what he meant by Beat. His answers had little precision and were kind of vague, but he'd achieved status sufficient for everyone to assume he knew exactly what he meant by Beat. By this time of course there was a whole thing about Beatniks and black polo neck sweaters, record labels, books, shocking interviews with the bourgeois media, black and white television and the plethora, so it didn't really matter what Kerouac reckoned he meant by Beat. A difficult time for some of us, we had hard decisions to make, whether to become a Mod, a Rocker, a Teddy Boy, or a Beatnik and soon enough you found out that the authentic Beatnik did not call him or herself a Beatnik. He or she was just Beat, and everything about Beat was glorious except for the bongo drums, which could be incredibly irritating around two in the morning. Meanwhile older people were talking about the rot having set in, and would often say things like "hanging's too good for them," and "bring back the cat," a reference to the cat-o'-nine-tails.

Now that I am an older person, I realize I have absolutely no idea which of the many possibilities the young people are exploring today. A visit to town tells me nothing, and certainly there's no one saying anything  like "daddy-o" or "digging it man" on a street corner. So maybe it all happens at night, but more likely this amazing paucity of visible self expression has to do with the evils of Social Media. It all happens in the ether and all that remains are the occasional convoy of large angry looking sweaty middle aged men hogging the road on their motorcycles and the odd callow youth with what look like Bull testicles attached to the tail-hook of their pick up truck. Granted both are well worth a "throw away the key" but all the same I sometimes feel robbed of the generous opportunities for self expression showered by my own generation on previous generations of older people. And that's "Straight from the Fridge" which for those concerned is an infinitely more subtle and much cooler way of saying something like "Ain't that the Truth," but who really knows.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Ancient Mysteries

Much scholarly debate about the origin of the word Yahweh. Some will tell you it was place lost to the sands of time, others will tell you it translates from an ancient Canaanite language into Popeye's "I am what I am," still others will come up with all sorts of mystical offerings and entirely possible because it has something to do with Religion and Politics and Academia there's no real incentive for an objective answer. My own view follows an account which naturally enough I can no longer find in any real sense, yet variations of which remain a constant for those moments in the vegetable Garden when there's just a little bit more to do and the body begins to express a sudden yearning for The Rapture and failing that a good long cigarette break in deep, Tic-less shade. The other point I'd like to make is that there's no way Bruce Springsteen singing "Santa Claus is Coming" figures in any reputable account of the origin of Yahweh, so best to keep that in mind.

Many years ago, in a part of the world where rain was uncertain and land subject to plagues of Centipedes, a gardener exhausted from the endless monotony of separating the Tares from the Wheat thought he heard a voice and he looked up unto the heavens. And lo it was what sounded like a Late Bronze Age Bruce Springsteen singing, "You'd better not cry, you'd better not pout, and I'm telling you why, so be good for goodness sake."  The gardener, having followed the calling of gardeners, was a dour, fusty old grump and he replied, "The odd Tare never hurt anybody! It's all roughage!"  And with a degree of unction the voice answered, "Well you'd better watch out because sooner or later I'm coming to town." A terrible quarrel ensued during which Blossom End Rot was mentioned several times, and finally the gardener put his good hand on his bad hip and demanded, "Who exactly do you think you are?"  "I am the Creator. I have no name. I can't help it, I am what I am."

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Achilles Heel

Many years ago, as a young bright eyed, enthusiastic youth of tender years, your correspondent endured two life altering experiences. The first was a winter that included snow, freezing temperatures, heatless dormitories and an attitude amongst his peers that included the unbelievably absurd idea that two blankets on the bed was for sissies. The second was the change in time from ordinary time to daylight savings time. And it became clear to him that life in the land of the pink people was  under no circumstances reasonable, so it was basically no wonder Anglo Saxons generally did everything they could to get the hell off the green and pleasant land by conquering as much of the rest of the world as possible. Back then of course teachers of English History considered these views D minus to the point of subversive material which is how your correspondent was first introduced to something called Detention.

 In my view Detention was kind of like heaven, because the alternatives to Detention was a thing called Free Time, which meant that while my peers were forced to remain outdoors entertaining themselves by trying to keep warm, I was well sheltered from the stiff breezes that usually contained rain. Sadly the alternative to Detention was something called a Visit to the Headmaster, a deviously cunning man who knew a slacker when he saw one. Briefly your correspondent was able to maintain dominance in the battle of wits by demonstrating symptoms that characterize the Moron, which is just above idiot. Then one day, your correspondent was called from the algebra class and introduced to an extraordinary sight. She was gentle to look at, she smelled nothing like wet socks and she sat me down and asked me to perform a number of simple tasks that included arranging different shaped blocks. I was like putty in my determination to impress. It was pathetic, weak minded of me, an Achilles Heel that's lingered big time.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Chemistry of Mind

Interesting the more recent attempts to interpret the dubious wonders of psychotropic chemicals from some of our intellectual elites. For those of us who have been here long enough to understand the heights of existence upon earth almost entirely in terms of a successful bowel movement it might seem that somewhere, someone has money to make from persuading the milk cows that solace is available from taking what many years ago was called, amongst other things, an Acid Trip. And it's also possible that quite a few of us, sometime in the distant past, might have spent more time then they really wanted to persuading some idiot male not to leap from the top floor balcony because he firmly believed he was that rare creature an Ostrich that could fly. Oddly he had the feathers and everything.

Yet as I understand the latest literature on the subject, a Good Trip encourages those of us old people who might have suddenly discovered a concern about the pointlessness of it all feel better about the prospects of dying. The Trip, apparently, opens the mind to possibilities which instead of being called fantasy worlds are referred to as spiritual worlds. Mind you, much more of this current administration and the mass production of a pill that grants access to spirituality would certainly result in several additions to the Billionaire Class. Entirely possible I have completely missed the point, but a quick glance at the alarm clock and we've only got about three weeks before Intelligent Machines take over. So there's that for us older people to hold fast to.

Thursday, May 31, 2018


It wasn't so much a feep-out on my part, it was more a question of cleverly exploring the alternatives to sacrificing access to the weather radar for an unknown period of time by doing things like 'far too busy to go to the Post Office, maybe tomorrow.' Then, thank goodness, I got the call to arms. The professionals had decided that in anticipation of the Full Moon beginning to wane, which apparently is a guarantee of some kind of rain, the plan was to replant by hand those more cantankerous parts of the Tobacco Field that had failed to sufficiently succor Tobacco Seedlings. Each of the two thousand plus new seedlings would be planted with a dribble of water. To get the water to where it was needed buckets of water would be carried. In context, the entire field was originally planted with around sixty thousand Tobacco Seedlings. And there was a moment from the apprentice that felt the need to suggest that the percentage success rate was pretty damn good, and at the same time the apprentice had a real understanding of the intense depression and personal insult that can be produced by gaps in any row of plants.

In times past a Tobacco Field didn't have to be that big to realize a profit, but Tobacco is a hungry plant, a field soon spent, the ground gets tired, which meant a new spot had to be found or cleared for the Tobacco. A smaller plot was way more manageable. Pests that tolerate and thrive on Tobacco could be hand picked and you could even think about waiting for the last frost to sow Tobacco seed, which are tiny little things, germination temperature for them in the upper seventies Fahrenheit, then hope for a nice long year with no surprises in May or September. More recently to realize profit the size of a Tobacco Field has to take account of costs that include machinery, tractors, planters, pesticides and fertilizers. And it's not just any old fertilizer. If you use the wrong combination of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium the buyers can tell by communing with it that your Tobacco isn't good quality. And yes, the fertilizer costs twice as much as the seedlings. Either way the general opinion amongst the professionals was to place the blame firmly on the borrowed carousel planter. As I understand it, the mechanics of a carousel planter are such that for it to achieve perfection the ground has to be pretty much a fine, clodless, heavenly tilth, which is not something that comes easy around here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Rain Cloud Encouragement

Good chance of rain in the next couple of days and a very good chance of no rain. For those interested, in such a circumstance of uncertainty I have a rain cloud encouragement technique which others who might also be pacing around waiting for rain might wish to try. Unlike the banality of "Thoughts and Prayers" this technique does require great sacrifice. The very first thing you do is change your internet connection password and write your new password down on a piece of paper which you put in a stamped envelope to mail to yourself. Before you go to the Post Office you disconnect from the internet. It's not easy, there will be major temptations to feep-out, you'll probably get hives, always a chance you might start hallucinating raindrops on the windshield, recognize the hallucination as a symptom of internet withdrawal, which is main reason why some of us maintain windshield wipers that don't actually work.

If your mission is successful and you get home, you'll have forgotten your new password and you'll have no access to weather radar for at least forty eight hours, if not longer. Which in turn means the totality of your Being can become wholly obsessed with a sometimes difficult interpersonal dialogue between yourself and possibilities of rain without any kind of dependence on the interpretations of the often random, frequently radical and sometimes devious thinking from weather forecasting professionals. When you get back from the Post Office, you open all the windows in your vehicle and you open the tailgate. Then you go to your attic, close the curtain and visualize the possibilities of rain drops fluffing up the soil on your neighbor's struggling Tobacco field. And here it's very important to be generous to others with your visualizations, any selfish kind of thinking at this time of year pretty much guarantees straight line winds, tornado and flood.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Older Timers

If you ask the old timers around here, and I mean the old timers, the kind of characters who can recall plowing their Tobacco field with their father's Mule, struggling with the winter flu and still having to milk the Cows morning and night in temperatures well below freezing, you'll find it difficult to determine the extent to which the climate might have changed. Most suggest it was snowier back then, life harder, fewer Turkey and there were more Butterflies, but that's about it.

During the Depression of the 1930's, when time came to take the Tobacco Leaves to the warehouse, where they would be judged, weighed and sold, many growers would take a chicken as a donation to the agents who did the judging, weighing and buying. Many more growers would make the trip home with very little or no gain from their family's year of hard work. With no cash from the crop, there was no money for new shoes, new cloth or shop candy. Back then too, the saying was, "Don't drink the moonshine, sell it." 

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Being a secondary primary caregiver for a proven serial killer can lead to conflict. Not that I'm pure in either heart or spirit, I spend daily hours conducting pogroms against the annuals and have a particular hatred for Crabgrass and its relatives, which this year are attempting to colonize the beds in the Vegetable Garden, and it's easy enough to blame the Voles for introducing billions and billions of Crabgrass seeds into the Vegetable garden, because it offers an opportunity to take solace from the knowledge that the Girl Cat does spend a majority of her waking hours hunting, then torturing, then partially consuming pretty much anything that can move seeds around by design, rather than something like the wind. But the way I read it, the Girl Cat still feels doggedly determined to lead the Kitten into her own gruesome calling. And it was the Girl Cat who introduced the live Chipmunk into the domicile.

 The Artist, who quite frankly is totally besotted by the Kitten, will insist that it was the Kitten who brought the Chipmunk into the house. The idea appears to produce a glow of pride in the more creative of our pairing. For my part I'm not that convinced the Kitten has ever earned her keep. To my mind the Kitten's main role is to interrupt the flow of my day with a series of demands to open doors and gates when she's not angling for a snack or needs to have her pillows fluffed or just wants to be patted on the head. Nor was I taken in for one minute by the Kitten's scampering around the downstairs, bravely rumpling the rugs and bashing into things as she chased the Chipmunk in a manner which both I and the Girl Cat judged clumsy at best. Of interest, Chipmunks appear to be about fifty times larger when they're actually in the house and it would seems that in the Chipmunk community they obviously have the testosterone fueled Stand Your Ground laws, and it's that sort of Spartans at Thermopylae attitude of theirs that lets us secondary caregivers catch them with a bathmat and by so doing get himself  a pat on the head from a primary caregiver.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Effing Wall

You really have to wonder what kind of mind comes up with the idea of separating young children and babies from their mothers as a deterrent to others. And you might even wonder what sort of country produces a mind that produces such a policy. You also have to wonder what kind of mindless person would agree to implement such a policy, but they do.

"....Yesterday, we and the SS were generous. Every Jew we caught was shot. Today, it's different ... They are beaten to death with cudgels and spades...." It's from a letter to his mother and father, written be a young soldier on the Eastern Front in 1942. He goes on to say, the work was difficult at first, but it was getting easier, and he reminded his mother it was his patriotic duty.

Friday, May 25, 2018


From bitter experience I can tell you coupons for the Grocery Store are way less straightforward than they appear to be. You can find yourself a prime source of aggravation at check out where there's an overwhelming level of determination to make one customer happy even if it does mean badly irritating and possibly ruining the shopping experience of ten or fifteen others. Indeed if I was a store manager I'd tell a newbie coupon user like me to just go back to the beginning and start again.

My advice when using coupons, practice your comprehension skills for a couple of days beforehand, get a sense of how many ounces there are in a pound, don't just assume you know, put aside anything like an absurd conviction that there can't possibly be a difference between a Dinner Sausage and Breakfast Sausage, take a magnifying glass and try to be brave.  Of the three coupons, I did ace the coupon for free ice cream which was pretty much melted by the time I got home. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Technical Device

Downloading a fix for Windows 10 which has chosen not to speak to me or respond in anyway. Good chance the world will end before this is accomplished. Which means this could be farewell, because I'll not be replacing this wretched machine. And I'll tell you why. Addiction. For a long time now I've realized that I am addicted to the  technical device. "When do you cut Garlic Scapes?" The answer is no longer a reach into memory or a book, instead it's "look it up on Goggle!" "How old am I?" "Look it up on Goggle!" "What's my address and social security number again?" "Look it up on Goggle!"  Nor will I mention Facebook or Reddit or any of those other contributions to the extinction of existence. Then bang! It's all gone to some misconstrued code, there's a sense of panic, there's pacing around, there's foot stamping, and a good chance you'll develop a near terminal case of hives as I did during an adverse reaction to an extraordinarily rational attempt to give up smoking.

On the bright side, this could be a good chance to make yet another effort to improve my social skills. Following the realization that the conversational remarks I have occasionally made in a social setting are often greeted with alarm and confusion, I've successfully reduced verbal communication to the occasional grunt. I'd like to think I'm still quite good at nodding politely even if I haven't actually practiced nodding politely in the mirror, so who knows the impression it leaves. It's also the case the hours I spend avoiding Tics while in the company of Compost Piles might not contribute to the understanding that there are diverse opinions on the planet and my word is not law. Not that anyone takes any notice down there in the shade but it is possible that lack of response is a Compost Pile's equivalent to a polite nod. Either way, to quote the Tangerine, we'll see what happens.