Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Nests and Stuff

Yellow Chat sighting, he looks fit and well, his eyebrows magnificent, and damn right he's ready for his high noon performance. Our Mockingbird pair are intensely in love, when he's not following her around and cooing in a sometimes sickly way he's doing his best to locate nest sites, I guess in the vernacular "they look cute together." Tree Swallows are debating the merits of a relocated nest box. Cowbirds have found the Robin nest. A Phoebe, bright in dark places, has eggs to brood, she's stubborn as a rock in the rafters which Barn Swallows once owned.

There's a whole thing with Matron Turkeys wandering the hay field hunting down their nest site so they can lay in plenty of time to contribute their eggs and sometimes themselves to hay making, their nestlings to the diet of Barred Owls or play-toys for a cat. I could go on about the Goldfinch dressed in his best yellow, the blues of the Boy Bluebirds, the flick of a Least Flycatcher's tail, the folly of Doves in the barn, and the white feather from what has to be a Barn Owl, but that would be soppy, it would be wandering lonely as a supercilious cloud, a host of golden Daffodils, when yes indeed I belong to this.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fit to Print

John Walking Stewart once decided to leave London following a pamphlet he'd written on the subject of a future queen. If I recall he'd taken a position on the future King of England's choice of wife and what with one thing and another his pamphlet had raised a suspicion in the authorities that Stewart could well have been a dangerous radical, well worth keeping an eye on. In those days pamphlet writing was more like an opinion page in a newspaper or on electronic devices where this or that pompous ass gets paid or volunteers to interpret the news of the day for those of us who might be unable or are unwilling to form an opinion of our own. Generally in those days pamphleteers had to pay the costs of printing their pamphlets. Over time the more recognizable newspapers emerged from bright sparks in the printing business who had decided to make their fortune by combining advertizing, pamphleteering and actual news, all of it wrapped around the more censorious instincts of the authorities into a source of constant entertainment as well as a political weapon.

In those days too, an English King's choice of life mate was more about Genetics, European Politics and Religion than it was about glass slippers and swooning. Stewart wasn't big on the existence of God or monarchies yet he found it impossible to remain silent on the revelation that a future king of England had secretly married a Roman Catholic widow. It was marriage declared legitimate by the Pope but the line of succession laws for the English Royals declared that anyone marrying a Catholic couldn't be king. The marriage was finally declared invalid because apparently George III, who was by then totally insane, hadn't given permission. In the end, so that he could be King, George III's eldest son married a solid, properly born daughter of a German Duke.  If I recall, after being followed around by agents of the state, Stewart decided to get out of town, visit Lapland for a couple of years until the whole thing blew over.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spelling

Not that it matters any longer, but a Council is deliberative body that discusses then decides stuff, a Counsel is a source of advice and a Consul is a nation's representative. The congress is supposed to be a Council. Robert Swan Mueller III is a Counsel. And Japan has a Consul in Nashville. One way to remember it goes this way: if you want advice and a broader opinion you don't just make it up as you go along, you consult a counsel, if you want to quarrel and get grumpy you go to a Council and if you want a visa to visit a foreign land you go to a Consul.

 The other thing to recall is that your correspondent is an appalling speller. Grey, Gray, traveler, traveller, whether, weather, seal, ceil, and it just goes on into the wild blue yonder of i before e except after c and whole bunch of things that have been forced upon us by those obsessed by precision in the use of a shared written language. And then there's the idea that not being able to spell is symptomatic of careless, ill discipline mental habits characteristic of those in our number who might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Oddly in the arena of Counsels and Consuls precision is advantageous. But when it comes to Councils it's more like a blood sport where pretty much anything goes.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Olden Days

Like so many things I can't remember with any kind of clarity where I might have been in the year 1974, let alone what I might have been doing on August 9th of that year when President Nixon did the sensible thing, put his country out of its misery, he resigned, disappeared into a comfortable retirement, leaving a whole bunch of people to face jail time.  After much thought, I suspect that in 1974 I could have been doing shift work for Parcel Department of the Royal Mail which was located on the west end of the City of Cardiff in South Wales. It's also possible that on August 9th of that year I was on the night shift, working the dock, which was a nice job because you could smoke cigarettes out there.

We were a fairly loose leaf collective, none of us had qualified for the prized role of door to door mail delivery and had been shunted into the recently automated Parcel Department where we essentially just put parcels into mail sacks. Our only important skill was tying the correct label onto the correct mail bag. Those of us who had also failed to master labeling were consigned to the dock where we loaded and unloaded well labeled mail bags. What I do remember with intense clarity, out there in the fresh air, an older dock worker suddenly stopped and said, "Listen." And we all listened to a distant Nightingale serenade a warm night until our supervisor turned up.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Signs of Spring

Interesting frost on an icy breeze this morning and a Boy Humming Bird sighting. Could be a rogue Humming Bird, of course. One that's gone completely to the banana and is drifting through a life dedicated to one day maybe nesting on Baffin Island. Possibly has a family line which for generations has nested in a suburb of Montreal, and he's just very anxious to catch up on the gossip. And there's always a chance he might actually know what he's doing.

Me, as someone who was once viciously harassed by a swarm of young Humming Birds while I was doing the right thing by making pectin free jam, I'm not that fond of them. Close-up they have a very sharp pointed beak and a crazed look in their killer instinct eyes, kind of like a giant Mosquito. No doubt about it their species has been around much longer than the species I have the misfortune to belong to, so they've got that sort of wisdom going for them.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Local Gossip

There'll be no Peaches this summer, their blossoms have gone to the cold. Odds are against the Asian Pear. There's a slight chance of a few Soft Pears if the Fox Squirrel doesn't get them first. The Potato are struggling. But the first Compost Pile of the year has achieved 80 Fahrenheit and rising, which is exciting because in the morning, following tonight's frost, I'll be able to jiggle the pile's surface a little, see steam and maybe just perch on top of it for a bit.

Meanwhile I have given consideration to selling my soul to the devil in exchange for an Asparagus Bed in which weeds do not grow. There's a weed in the Asparagus that I've not seen for years, it's what some call Nursery Bane, my own name for it sounds like waking up in the morning to discover your left hand is missing. I've declared Fake News on the Artist's suggestion that these weeds come from the Compost Piles, it's far too obvious to me they arrived in the toe nails of Voles.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Mole

The main problem with Moles is that a person rarely gets to see one. They lurk around under the ground, they rip through carefully prepared earth, wreack havoc with the more tender roots, they devour our comrades the worms, they wreck the appearance of the short grass, and every now and then a gardener spots a little tickle in the corner of an eye and you know deep down in your soul there's a Mole moving through the ground, polishing the walls of its tunnel.

Some might come up with something like "how cute," then go on to invest time in attempting to understand the Mole, it's habits, it's life style and its life cycle. Others just see blood, they grab the shovel and proceed to beat the ground as though suddenly possessed by demons. Mostly the results of such a blood thirsty reaction is considerable damage to something like a neatly planted row of Chard. But sometimes there's a victim, it's about the size of a slipper, it has huge paws, a friendly snout, a little tail and very, very soft fur.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cyrus

Old Testament Christians have discovered purpose in the idea of being persecuted by wishy-washy liberals. We've enslaved them apparently and have dedicated ourselves to making their lives miserable by doing things like insisting they put two boys on a wedding cake, our left wing media biased and as a result they are keenly anticipating a return to the promised land. You jest? I hear the call. Not at all! It's all in the more confusing parts of Bible, Daniel and books like that. Goes back to about 500BC when the Babylonians enslaved the Israelites and being a particularly unpleasant variety of Pagan the Babylonians took great delight in raising Jerusalem to the ground, enslaving the Israelites and doing dreadful things like trying to persuade them to give up on their One True God or face cruel tortures, fiery furnaces, cross dressing and throwing the stubborn to hungry meat eating wild animals was a Babylonian favorite.

Then a King of Persia, which oddly enough is Iran today, a man called Cyrus defeated a man called Belshazzar who was the vile King of Babylon. Worth noting that both Cyrus and Belshazzar were high order Pagans, we're talking harem owning, throwing to the lions type Pagans who probably never brushed their own teeth or cut their own toe nails. But Cyrus had made a deal with the Israelites and after vanquishing Babylon Cyrus kept his promise and he returned the Israelites to their Jerusalem and to their promised land. It might sound nuts, but the thing is this, in the Old Testament Christian mind we wishy-washy Liberals with our free wheeling and sometimes tolerant ways are kind of like Belshazzar and his Babylonians. The Pagan hero Cyrus and Persian horde, no matter their faults, are kind of like Donald Trump and his Republican party. Where the Old Testament Non-Beatitude reading Christian promised land of milk and honey might be, remains a mystery, but our President and his Republican Party can do no wrong in their eyes.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brands of Comfort

It's not what I'd call snow falling from the sky, it's far too heavy to float or dance around in a very chilly breeze, which gives these April showers an ice foam and hail quality that quickly reminds a person of his temporal nature and of how fundamentally unsuited he is to an earthly existence. So it's no wonder a mind sometimes looks beyond the heavens for solace and finds Planet X which following its collision with earth in a couple of days times offers the pure a guarantee of rapture, an eternity of unutterable monotony.

You'd think that in times of uncertainty a gardener would put his slippers on, cuddle up to the teapot and develop the fatalistic attitudes necessary for calm. But no. What happens is that the mind begins to take comfort from theories which in a reasonable world would seem totally absurd. I'm pretty convinced that had I not insisted on putting the Cabbage out early the Strawberry wouldn't have been so tempted to produce a profusion of bloom in plenty of time for the hard freeze tonight.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Peanuts and Turtles

With 29 weeks to the midterm elections this November, and some of us are finding it very difficult to maintain a sense of reasonableness in the face of our Governor's recent and frequent statements on the subject of our fine state school teachers who are in the process of setting an excellent example for us all, including the children. Sadly it's a whole year and 29 weeks before what's called the Kentucky Gubernatorial Election in the November of next year. Nor does name calling add much more to civil discourse, it's about as as facile as the apology of thoughts and prayers or a charitable donation.

However, when I first came to the United States I'd never actually concentrated on the word "Gubernatorial." I just assumed that the word "Gubernatorial" was some how related to "Goober," sometimes "Guber." Of its meanings the name "Goober" has an origin in the Bantu for peanut, in the same way that the name "Cooter" has an origin in the Mandigo word for turtle. A bit of a stretch perhaps but in our governor we're looking at an out of control hybrid, a sort of Yahweh of Peanut/McConnell. They are who they are I guess.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallows arrived just in time for the rain. And it does seem that Tree Swallows always arrive just in time for a period of extended rain followed by a chill and a little frost that does nothing for anyone's flight feathers. Have to think that in the community of Tree Swallows there's a classic "there is no alternative" philosophy of mind. And you have to think some times that Tree Swallows have at least something in common with the us. Looks pretty, looks easy, warm enough for insects to swarm and then whoops-a-daisy it's World War I all over again.

The other thing Tree Swallows have in common with some of us is their twitter habit. They'll sit on the electric line and tweet up a storm, it's more of a clicking sound, but very expressive and usually addressed at blaming no one in particular. Mockingbirds wisely find it irritating and I always reckon this Tree Swallow tirade is addressed directly at me, a sure sign I should probably get out and about a little more. More sobering perhaps is the possibility that Artificial Intelligence if it's to succeed in emulating us needs flesh and bone otherwise it's without purpose.

Friday, April 13, 2018

New Cracy

"....for the Benefit of knaves at the cost of fools."  Yes indeed! My own preference in the area of morality is the line from Genesis which basically suggests, "For Esau was an hairy man, but I am an smooth man." And yet you got to love the wonderful word Katistocracy as used by the former CIA boss John O. Brennan, in of all things a tweet, "Your Katistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey." Call him the Samuel Johnson of the secret services, and wait around for "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Mind you, I'm with Lemuel Caution on this one. "Slimeball," says it all.

 I imagine in the CIA, cracies of all kinds are regularly discussed and joked about, probably a long list of them have to be memorized otherwise you're considered a moron, but I had to look up Katistocracy. I assumed it had purring animal connotations, Lions, Hyena, Bears, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, that sort of thing. I was wrong. The "kati" part of the word comes from the Greek for the very worst, totally useless, fit only to be thrown away. The "cracy" part comes from the Greek word for style of rule. Over the years those more faint hearted in our number have yearned for a return to an Arthurian wet dream of Aristocracy and they have questioned the capacity of Democracy to avoid becoming a Katistocracy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Leaf

Your correspondent may well have spent much of the past four months complaining about the appalling weather, the political circumstance, his declining capacities, his teeth, his struggle to eat lunch without becoming psychotic, his rejection of Saint Patrick as the go to patron saint for Potato, but no longer. A bright new golden leaf is to be turned.

It's a simple, familiar story of a non-smoking, elderly neighbor who decided he'd gained weight as a result of giving up on his annual Tobacco crop. This year the neighbor is growing Tobacco, and your correspondent will be serving as apprentice. Got the sticks, thousands of them, ground is ploughed, loan of a carousel planter secured, seedlings arrive around May 20th.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Cryptography

Warren Buffet might well be looking at Bitcoins. Me, I have come to the conclusion that I'm just too far gone to grasp them much beyond an understanding that they offer an attempt to introduce an entirely digital alternative to the established means of exchange. A brave new frontier, heavily reliant upon the electric supply and a functioning internet, or Blind Faith as we call it round here.

I do know that during the times of the Roman Empire, Emperors who were a little short on cash often chose to mint  new coins. And on one occasion an Emperor minted so many new coins that the means of exchange became worthless and much of the Empire was reduced to bartering. So we've got that to look forward to. Two fresh Eggs for a can of Tomato.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

I've never liked Sunday afternoons. Sunday mornings aren't too bad but Sunday afternoons are empty, restless places, with absolutely nothing going for them. Nor does the internet work very well on Sunday afternoons, so a person is down to reading a book if they wish to escape.

Fortunately I have been able to download Peter Cheyney's entire Dark Series. It's the Second World War, and Cheyney's hero is hunting down spies, leering at female night club singers and playing very loose with the rules so that the novelist might find ever more endearing descriptions of cigarette smoking. It's a feast.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Big Chill

Frigid outside, it's wet with wind, hell on the gloves, it feels like minus 20 Fahrenheit, a Naraka not even the Tibetans can imagine. Currently the whole business of blanketing delicate little dears with row cloth is a subject and not a target, but if it gets any colder all of us will become witnesses to a night of biting frost that will live in infamy.

And of course tomorrow there will be wailing, gnashing, the whole panoply of regret, self recrimination followed by a re-education program that will include the understanding that winter doesn't really end until something like the end of May. Last time we had a beginning of April like this there was drought through the Fall. The notebook's faded and coffee stained but that year looks like 2007, or 2005, I think.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Tidings

Very important to retain a positive attitude, and I'll tell you why. Imagine if you will, something like a forecast for wind, rain, freezing rain, snow followed by rain, followed by temperatures in the lower twenties, followed by a dentist appointment. And all this in the first week of April.

It's a dire and terrible image, probably totally fanciful, the act of a perverse imagination, can't possibly be true, clearly the work of a Russian Bot hell bent on creating a moral panic, I know. But does no good to find a bed to hide under, curl up, enter the fetal position and utter the occasional primal scream.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Travel as Therapy

Took the big road yesterday toward that part of the world where the fences are all about wood and weedeaters, none of this elegant wire strand with honeysuckle and briar. Up there it's an anal esthetic that produces a dull landscape with few redeeming features. It's where fields are mowed regularly so that over priced Horses do whatever over priced Horses do to earn their keep. Must say you have to admire the French, at least they see nothing wrong with eating horses.

 Otherwise it was sunny day with a very cold wind, which was spent mostly amongst fast drivers, none of whom waved and most of whom seemed attached to their mobile telephones. All I can say it's just as well the Artist was the motive force behind the adventure, the theory being that a Shut-In should occasionally be prized away from the every day. Call it a new age electric shock therapy. My reward three small jars of incredibly over priced Marmite.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Menace of Bald Eagles

As a Secondary Caregiver for two small somewhat self centered domestic felines I am not in the least excited by the reappearance of the local Bald Eagle.  Fortunately Bald Eagle are an idle creature, they'd rather steal food from others than actually go to the effort of risking feather damage by hunting it down themselves. But there's always the chance of an anomalous behavior from them. Good mind to nip down to the local merchant, purchase an overstocked Remington AR 15 and a secondhand camouflage jacket with which to patrol the perimeters. Thank God the Nearctic Golden Eagle is way up in the north, north. I claim Fake News on the heart stopping suggestion they winter in the top part of Indiana. Golden Eagle have been known to take Lambs and Foxes.

Does strike me that an AR 15 might not be the best weapon to make short work of a Bald Eagle. It has excellent range, but a moving target that jumps out of nowhere and flies with some agility requires something like an Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon with radar fire control. Old fashioned, I know, but Sadly such a venerable anti aircraft gun needs a team of well trained and like minded souls, otherwise there's a great deal of collateral damage, and every time you pull the trigger, dispatch a burst of 20 odd shells, you've spent around a hundred dollars with no guarantee of a bulls eye. It's a cost factor that can really only be made up by selling tickets, and in this wimpy age of instant gratification, fast food and online shopping not sure that I'd sell many.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Potato Angst

Saint Patrick might not be the go to Saint for Irish Potato planting. He was what's called a Roman-British Christian.  His dates are the Fifth Century, which is somewhere between 400 AD to 500 AD. He probably knew spoken Latin and his first visit to the Emerald Isle was as a result of being kidnapped by pirates, sold to an Irish Farmer who set him to work in the fields. He escaped, somehow he made his way back to the British Island and having fallen madly in love with an Irish Lass during his captivity he determined to mend his broken heart by returning to Ireland. Quite how he did it, no one knows, but he got funding from Rome on the understanding that he'd lead a mission to convert the Irish Celts. In those days Boy Saints were allowed to do things like get married and stuff. Those of us who are alive today know that Europe had to wait for around a thousand years before the first Potato arrived from the New World. In short your gardener is beginning to wonder whether his Potato crop has drowned.

Potato plants in these parts do not struggle against the Deer. One nibble of a Potato leaf and that's it for  Deer. But at this time of year there is nothing a Deer likes better than to find a neatly dug and raked patch of unfenced ground to stomp around on. It must have something to do with foot-care. But if that piece of ground has shallow Potato trenches waiting patiently for signs of something like a Potato crop, Deer tend to consider it necessary to walk up and down in those shallow trenches, churning up the mud in a manner that an emissary from Rome would consider high end barbaric behavior that was totally beyond redemption. There'd be a Jihad or an Edict and images of Deer would be removed from stain glass windows. All this requires a total reappraisal of Potato planting time, and none of this pathetic clinging to "well it's Saint Patrick's Day, aren't I clever."  Even less exciting is local lore which declares that if it rains on April 1st, you got seventeen wet days in the month of April. Guess what? It rained yesterday.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hedges

Quite a confluence. A Savior rising from the dead and April 1st. In the interest of harmony and as a contribution to the great oneness I'll make no joke about the Easter Bunny summing a conjoining of themes, nor will I mention an origin of April Fools Day which had to do with a chance to laugh at those in the Middle Ages who stubbornly continued to celebrate the new year between March 25th and the first day of April, despite reprimands from the King of France to get with the January 1st program and jolly well enjoy it or suffer the consequences. Mind you beginning the year at the end of March does make great sense to me which puts me firmly on the side of the heathen.

 Then there's hedging. One of the true mysteries of life is a fast growing evergreen plant that achieves noble stature within a few brief years, totally blocks out the neighbors, lasts for eternity, never needs to be trimmed and is immune to all pests. Once upon a time that plant was called Leyland Cypress, which in my life time is a plant that's been a great source of employment, of the millions planted I think I might have been paid to remove several hundred. More recently the new miracle hedge is a cross between an Arborvitae of Japanese origin and a Red Cedar. It's called Thuja Green Giant. No one knows quite how tall they grow, or how they manage through the intense stress of aging because they've only been in existence for around forty years. The saplings of Thuja Green Giant we planted here, twelve or so years ago, are getting on for thirty foot and are very prone to Bagworm.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Third Eye

I didn't know that Lizards have a third eye. It's on the top of their head. It doesn't look like an eye in the traditional sense, but it's an area of skin that contains photoreceptive neurons, and these neurons turn light into signals that cause the Lizard to produce hormones, and some argue enable a Lizard to navigate using the sun with a degree of accuracy, something Salamanders do. And indeed in many of the oldest fossil vertebrates, or creature with spine, there's actually a socket in the skull that may well have held a functional third eye that had a lens and everything.

I mention this because while addressing the Compost Piles I came across a Lizard that was well asleep and I reckoned it was time to make a better effort to identify the correct zoological style title given to this species of Lizard which I have called the Foucault Lizard for getting on maybe fifteen years. The name I gave it had something to do with this particular Lizards general Bolshevik attitude toward just about anything that looked like it was going to turn a Compost Pile. Then when you find out Lizards have third eye you kind of get sidetracked. No idea what the Foucault Lizard's more recognizable name might be.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Saints and stuff

Very possible the Kitten is an Ingraham-esque bubble dweller. I say this as one who falls very low on the totem pole, down there with the dust bunnies, school children, socks and shoelaces. Surely not! I hear the call. Well imagine yourself settling to sleep, the light is out, the pillow fluffed, the bedding arranged and as the remaining brain cell counts the last desperate Sheep there's a rush from the doorway that bounds onto the bed and proceeds to poke you in the face with a dew drenched and muddy paw.  Even in Holy Week it's an unnecessary and untoward behavior. Nor is there the remotest chance that a virtuous or forgiving reaction from me to this sort of dead of night Attila the Hun antic could ever be rewarded with a chocolate egg. A partially dissected and uncooked vole more likely.

It was Dewi Sant, the diminutive preacher, a forks over knives gentle vegetarian and Saint to the Welsh, who reminded us that it was the little things that count. And by little I don't think he meant the difference in size between an adult Leopard and an adult short haired domestic cat. He was thinking more in terms of being polite to each other, saying please and thank you, hope your foot's better, have a nice day or whatever. That sort of oil that enables a civility so crucial to a cohesive response to impasse. But I guess somewhere in the arena of domestic pets there's an equivalence to Likes on Facebook, and in some fifth dimension in which the Kitten has her second existence there's a You Tube channel with thousands of followers that must be satisfied so the Kitten might hold her ears and tail up high. Have to admit I'd be interested in tuning in to see what else she gets up to.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Time of Year

So what happened to March? Excellent question, and the answer could be complicated. Awash in vague understandings of circles, straight lines, away from Heidegger toward the French Existentialist, who are less daunted by scandal, all this in association with a yearning to become a Scottish Empiricist, that classic stand aside and watch, all of it conjoined with what begins to feel like constant visits to the dentist. Or it could be a simple question of stepping outside and watching the beginning of a spring-time that's no more and no less innocent than all the other spring-times since that fateful collision between earth and what eventually became our moon. Nor does endless rain, wet, chill and flood contribute to balance.

It's kind of no wonder members of our species sometimes retreat into the simple visions, find peace in the bloom of a Dandelion without once thinking about a cloud of Dandelion seeds finding a permanent home in Vegetable Garden paths. And from there look at the Jump Up Plantains, happy as Larks, that briefly inspire then smother the turf. Remember the scourge of Johnson Grass. Stare wistfully at what remains of the Compost Piles. It's a retreat into Hume, the empiricist, that requires a capacity to marvel at the Bees dodging raindrops on the frost scorched Peach Blossom without wondering where the antihistamine pills are.  On the bright side your correspondent has achieved a relationship with lunch. Instead of feeling like the angel of death afterwards, he is able to potter in a vaguely normal manner, which theoretically is nice. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Saturday

It takes a good four hours to recover from lunch. I'm told you eventually get used to it and over time are perfectly capable of doing something better than fighting off sleep and belching through the afternoon hours. But in a desperate search to remain positive I do remember what I always thought was a totally ridiculous rule which was that you shouldn't go swimming after lunch. I guess now I know why, a person could very easily fall asleep in his water wings and be carried over the Murchison Falls, drown and then be eaten by Crocodile. There'll be debate of course, and yet I'll insist that such a mode of rapture falls into the category of both idyllic and unique, when put beside the more mundane alternatives.

One possibility is the afternoon lie down. A quick nap during which the digestive juices have their chance to get on with it, and then the body awakes refreshed and ready to go. Sadly the occasional afternoon rest experiment, hasn't gone well.  I go out like a light and wake up three hours later feeling like a rabid Wolverine, biting and snarling at anything that moves. Then there's the option of reading quitely. And here I have had some luck, cheered up mightily by the wit of the European Union who responded to the challenge of steel and aluminum import tariffs with the challenge of  import tariffs of their own. Pelosi's California, a tariff on Levi Jeans. Ryan's Wisconsin, a tariff on Harley Davidson, and here at home in McConnell's Kentucky, a tariff on perfectly aged, real bourbon.  Bourbon in Kentucky is an 8.5 billion dollar industry, 17,500 jobs in the state, 800 million dollars in wages, not to mention 300 million dollars in exports and all the additional acres of corn Kentucky farmers are growing for an increasing demand from the distilleries.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday

Reckon Forsythia is getting on three weeks ahead, but I could be wrong. Quince a little behind Forsythia. Digging definitely behind last year, further back than that I cannot remember. And if you're interested, whether you love it or hate it a regimen of Free Trade has produced a peace in the world that's far too easy to forget.  As well, easy to forget how easy wars are to start, what a good idea they seem at the time, how certain victory always is, and how incredibly hard wars are to stop.

Oh sure there are little wars all over the place, there's hell and hatred, murder and mayhem, a bunch of wholly headed religious nuts dreaming of the eighth or ninth century, but all the same globalized free and fair trading has done good for a great many of us human beings even if it has caused havoc in the natural world. Frankly you're a mental patient or a geriatric commerce secretary, or someone who can't recover from losing a job they feel entitled to, if you don't see that.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Thursday


March has something to do with Rabbits behaving oddly. Has to do with the new growth of the grasses, or maybe not. But, some will argue the boy Rabbit has in his search for Spring purpose a good twenty five acres to cover. A lot of running around, and I imagine other boy Rabbits have some say in who goes where and why. It's all about Hobbes, the natural state, it's very much alive and well, and how I yearn to have nothing further to do with any of it which possibly gives me an autocratic leaning, so just as well I'm not the true God or something like a President of a country, or even a hall monitor.

 On the brighter side I have found some obedience in the vegetable garden. While still very wet, it's been warm enough for rapid growth in both Winter Wheat and Winter Oats, and this means good deep roots offer leaves a good opportunity at the task of transpiration which has dried the soil enough to make digging possible.  Unfortunately in the course of my ongoing and often affectionate relationship with the long handled shovel we have both chosen to believe that Wheat is by nature a reactionary plant. It basically has Freedom Party Republican written all over it. It's anal, it's retentive, it's matted, it's bad tempered, angry and the list goes on. Winter Wheat on the other hand is just a joy to be around, it's looser leaved, it has an unregimented aspect, generally a great deal freer and rightly the worms seem to prefer it. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday

Being homosexual was once a crime, still is in places. It was considered a deviancy, a wrongness, and had to be stamped out. Ask Oscar Wilde and millions of others. Then Gay people in the more liberal places took a hold of their own fate. They stood tall in the public square and primarily identified themselves as proudly Gay.  Funny thing, no harm done, the world didn't end, people still went shopping, and indeed the world seems brighter as a result of those brave souls.

What's that got to do with anything? There are some people who primarily identify themselves as gun owners, it's who they are. They join organizations and seem to have decided that everyone who isn't a gun owner is out to get them, take their freedom away. And it's kind of tragic to watch the twists and turns around what to do while everyone waits for another community to be ripped apart by another mass shooting. Mind you, the same the whole world over, guns are no substitute for balls.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tuesday

It was some while ago the Cherry Laurels began to suffer. A cruel winter, which had included an arctic episode that had required everyone to rush outside to either blow soap bubbles into the air to watch them freeze or to risk serious third degree burns by throwing buckets of boiling water into the air to watch it turn to ice before it hit the ground. As that winter drew toward spring it was clear that glossy green leaves of Cherry Laurel had taken a turn to that brittle brown, and yet in the heart of the plants there was hope, with good rain and warmth they'd shrug this off in plenty of time for the bloom of Day Lilies.

 Well today was chain saw day for the Cherry Laurels, and being is heavy with the burden of loss. There's a chance. A few scruffy, thinner branches might develop stubbornness, but probably not.  My own aches and pains from the exertion are well deserved. When I go back to seeing all twelve of them in their nursery, I wondered. Too hot and often too dry in summer, too cold in winter. "Not at all," the nursery man replied. But you get this sudden trust around want and to hell with the misery it might cause. For fourteen years the Cherry Laurels always bloomed twice, above and beyond their normal calling, but never once did they fruit..

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday


Years ago when I was maybe 52 years of age I'd hear the expression "Senior Moment." I knew exactly what it meant. The mind just goes blank, time stops, then there's a sort of blink, a moment or two of wondering where the body might actually be, and naturally there is an awkwardness. It had been happening to me for probably twenty years, possibly forty years, no big deal. What I hadn't realized in those happier days of vibrancy was that senior moments come in grades of ordinary, less ordinary and extraordinary. And I can tell you this much, when you forget who Paul Ryan is and follow up by forgetting who Robert Swan Mueller might be it's definitely an Extraordinary Senior Moment, which leaves you feeling really quite excited about the final frontier of senior moments which would be to completely forget the last two years and linger on in a truly senior condition until maybe 2020, wake up like Sleeping Beauty or was it Rapunzel, refreshed and eager.

 Which brings me to the arguments for and against eating more than one meal a day. The brain I am told needs nourishment to keep it sparkly and reasonably present in the world. At a certain age, the one evening meal a day regimen just doesn't cut it brain-wise. The cantankerous little thing needs a more regular source of contentment otherwise it does things like forgetting the name of that plant that has for years lived by the Compost Pile, blooms purple in late spring and is far too easy to step on during moments of high tension. And here in a most uncharacteristic manner I have followed the advice of the sages and have for the last week or so endured the novelty of eating food around lunch time and then again at the regular time around supper, and yet again around one o'clock in the morning. The new routine is fairly exhausting, yet on the positive side the brain may be benefiting, but this does reduce the potential for any of blessings senior moments might send my way.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday


Still February, feels like parts of January, a little bit of March and some April. And while the cold in bits of December and most of January retarded the ground covers, gave the Oats a shave with their maker, there is now an abundance of green stuff in the vegetable beds just waiting to be either mowed and abandoned or turned into green manure. Sadly it's been flood, and I'm not complaining or moaning or blaming an absurd President, I'm just saying the ground is very wet and horrible. It's sodden and oozing, primeval, it has a squelch and parts of it are probably risky to tread upon, has the potential to drown Moles and swallow up a humble gardener. Twenty days to March 17th, and by my estimation a good twelve full days of wholesome digging is required by then, the sort of thing that puts the dour in Lent.

 The Artist for her part has been indulging her passion for hydrology, which is an understanding of the relationships between earth's water and earth's land. And everyone knows that each one of us has our own understanding of these relationships, some more eccentric than others. Mine tend toward a more no nonsense, straight line approach to hydrology that includes eschewing anything like mud, staying indoors during rain, going nowhere near running water and I have an allergic reaction to gum-boots. Oddly the Artist saw in these conditions a perfect opportunity to revamp a water feature, or pox infested pond, that has over the years both developed leaks and has become too shallow to protect hibernating Amphibians from the freeze. I was incredibly brave, I assisted in removing a mountain of excess Water Lilies and a great many parts of dead Frog that give a whole new meaning to limp handshake.

Monday, January 29, 2018

South Seas

The year was 1711. Britain was meddling in several wars. The War of Spanish Succession. And there was a big quarrel between the Czar of Russia and Sweden which in those days had a king, ambitions for world domination and a colony in Delaware. And, for the Brits, there were the never ending traditional disputes with the French about pretty much everything. Meanwhile, George I of England was anxious to participate more fully in continental family maneuvering, a victory here, a victory there, but he was informed that his treasury was nine million pounds in debt. A truly ridiculous amount of money back then. A couple of bright sparks from Treadneedle Street, which was, and maybe still is, the financial district in the City of London came up with a scheme to solve the problem. A public private partnership. The private sector would sell shares in what they called the South Sea Company and raise money to help fill the national treasury. And the thing about the War of Spanish Succession was what might happen to the South Seas, a part of the world we now days call South America and which many years previously the Pope had given to Spain.

In 1711 a person who had resources to spare could buy shares in the South Seas Company. And many who did so kind of reckoned that in due course the British Government and the South Seas Company would pull itself together and do to South America what the British Government and the East India Company monopoly had done to the far east. There'd be fortunes to be made, dreams of Country Houses staffed by butlers, downstairs maids and probably Fox Hunting. All a person had to do was risk everything, sit back and wait, and if necessary borrow more money to invest in this new South Seas Company. Well, as Daniel Defoe, the trader, writer, pamphleteer and English Speaking spy pointed out, because Spaniards were quarrelling about who was the rightful heir to the Spanish Peninsular and what with everything else going on in the world, including north American English Speaking colonists fighting the indigenous peoples of the Carolinas, Spain had it's own financial interests and they weren't going to just give up on their monopoly of South America. Either way, 1711 is one of those few dates a person finds easier and easier to remember.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

God and Stuff

For years and years I labored under the Episcopalian illusion that a Mulligan was an Irish last orders cocktail of such a combination that when downed it granted an oblivion beyond the eight pint minimum. The professional would stagger homeward and probably awake in a ditch to the chorus of birds, look up at the sky and smile, then curse his throbbing head as he searched in vain for a familiar landmark that might tell him where he was. Hear the bells of the Sunday Church and know there'd be hell to pay at home. Happy days, they were, and for those interested it's the Wrens of island hedgerows that first raise the morning spirits to outrage, turn the Nightingale's poppycock songs into Owl Pellets, good enough only for lovers and the mawkish prose of the saccharine sweet. Yes indeed, Keats wanted escape from the real by becoming one with the earth, he was from Hampstead, so what do you expect. He died when he was twenty five.

More recently I have discovered that a Mulligan is a term used by Old Testament Christianity and is an indulgence that modernist Luther himself would have riled against as a total, complete and utter misunderstanding of the New Testament message. Luther had his charms of course, a tad extreme and probably would have died hungry had his marriage vows to an ex-nun not produced a partnership the better half of which had the acumen to put food on his table. At the same time a person can leap to ready conclusions which is why the gift of diligence remains a stalwart to any understanding. Mulligan Stew derives from the hobo camps, the homeless looking for food will eat anything, and if it's cooked even more delicious. And then there's golf, the rules to which are incomprehensible and probably pointless, but if I was an Old Testament God I would cast down bolts of lightening at any one found in possession of a golf stick and earthquakes would devour all golf carts and golf caddies. Sadly we more Episcopalian minded rely on The Beatitudes to keep the hereafter demon free. Can anyone still say Reformation without turning into a Pillar of Salt. Damn right there's a war on Christmas.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fence

Rabbit Fencing Season forces the reluctant into the outdoors. They'll be having their puppies soon enough, adorable little, soft eared creatures, bumbling around in that innocent way, but absolutely ruthless when it comes to nibbling and soon enough they'll be scattered amongst the undergrowth looking for gaps in fences. It must be a game they play, Find the Gap and Win an Egg.

Nor was it just the outdoors in January that turned Rabbit fencing season ugly.  I wasn't able to approach the task in the certain knowledge that a little light exercise, checking the knees to see if they still worked, would all combine to produce that sense of purpose that enables a body and mind to prepare for Digging Season. My sole comfort, it wasn't a wall.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Shutdown

Absolutely I blame the Republicans. And I'll give you a hint. He cheats at golf.

 Alternatively, Democrats stopped dreaming of crumbs and found their inner McConnell. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Toddler Theory

Those who spend their professional hours delving into the mysteries of our species have observed that if you put a bunch of four year olds in a room you risk being on the receiving end of toddler outrage if everyone doesn't get the same number of stickers as a reward for tasks attempted.

 The argument is that our more basic understanding of equity is a part of our being. Then things change. Quite why they do can be understood by applying the reasoning part of our minds to justifications for the victims of inequity. As we grow we absorb these justifications or risk being ostracized, sent to the corners.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Reactionary

In the more traditional sense the word "Reactionary" is used to quickly describe those who bend toward an opposition to progress. The assumption being that "Progress" is a steady improvement rather than the ceremonial journey that some one like Catherine the Great might have made through her realm so that she might judge for herself the condition of her subjects.

 And for those interested during Catherine's progress through her new territory of The Crimea there's a rumor that a Prince called Potemkin built mobile villages that could be moved overnight to new locations along Catherine's progress so that she could feel a little bit more confident about the condition of her subjects.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Snow

Thank goodness for the snow. Three degrees Fahrenheit tonight and No Dentist tomorrow. These are the sort of things that make Winter worth waiting for. Red rosy cheeks, touch of frostbite on the ears, and a good chance I might never feel my toes again, they've always been an unnecessary burden what with the nails needing cutting and the terrible damage they do to socks.

I just love it and so do the Domestic Pets, I'm quite certain they'll soon be out there in the outdoors prowling around like miniature Snow Leopards. Probably just gearing up at the moment for their great adventure. And I'll certainly be joining them, I'll pretend to be a giant Bunny Rabbit so they can chase me around. Uncharacteristic! Maybe, but we can all live in hope.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Twit

Anyone who didn't know has been living in a paper bag. But what's new?

Always been proud to claim Africa as my place of birth. Even more so now.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cup of Tea

Bronwyn the Seamstress' Carmelite Monastery is beginning to look less like a Victorian Military Barracks and more like one of those secretive places where sinister happenings and God knows what goes on. When I think back I worked one day a week in a garden near such a place, and while enthusiastically engaged in my responsibilities to my brand new employer, who was pretty good at keeping an eye on my progress and diligence by peering at me through net curtains with binoculars, I decided I'd Just go ahead ask, "What exactly goes on next door?" Her reply, "It's very hush-hush." Back then of course when old people used the expression 'hush-hush' they meant secret wartime type stuff, and as a rule after a brief glance at the bushes they'd tell you everything they knew in gory and minute detail. Not Mrs. Binoculars, and I sensed a deep suspicion in her, so I nodded wisely, pursed a lip and tried not to look like a ne'er do well hell bent on the destruction of Western Civilization. The following week, when Mrs. Binoculars brought out the midmorning cup of tea, which wasn't easy for her because she had a bad leg which required her to use a walking stick, she asked "Why do you want to know what's going on next door?"

I thanked her for the tea, probably shrugged in a straw chewing kind of way, might have said something about edging or Wisteria roots and all the while I knew from the expression on her face she expected something better than Potemkin answers from an hourly paid employee who'd arrived ten minutes late for his second day of work. Not certain what response I finally came up with but it produced from her a rather long explanation for why it was the world would be a much better place if people minded their own business. As she spoke I gained the possibly fanciful understanding that the next door property had nothing to do with "It's very hush-hush" and had a great deal more to do with some long drown out Hatfield and McCoy type thing. The "hush-hush" part was a peculiar and convoluted mantra my employer used in an attempt to maintain some sense of order and decency in her world whenever anyone brought up the subject of her neighbor. Several midmorning cups of tea later, I was beginning to suspect that my fanciful understanding of my employer's relationship with the neighbor was planted in firm ground. I thanked her for the tea. "Their getting a divorce!" She replied. Briefly I wondered whether my employer had hit the liquor bottle. By the November of that year, all the leaves raked, the midmorning cup of tea included two phrases. "It's why we never had an au pair" and "We'll not need you again until next year."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fence Walking

Warm spells for us attic dwellers who share our accommodations with wintering Ladybirds are a mixed blessing. They are dear little creatures possessed of an inquisitiveness around the activities of those amongst us who may be attempting to construct N scale fencing, a scale where the height of a large adult human is approximately the length of small well manicured finger nail. And when temperatures soar the Ladybirds become active, they discover a strong desire to launch themselves into flight from the higher peaks of an indoor landscape. The N scale fence is far from an ideal launching pad, far too pointy for the exercise which appears to require all six legs to be firmly attached to a surface otherwise any attempt to open the wing cases results in frustration for both Ladybird and observer.

They are also very stubborn, which means a single minded attachment to the "try and try again" philosophy, and if that fails give it another name and "repeat."  I guess it's a live and let live world, and yet a soft hearted wishy-washy liberal does find himself spending a great deal of valuable time in Ladybird husbandry. They don't communicate well but they can be persuaded to stop wandering endlessly up and down on the top of an N scale fence if their progress is interrupted by a suitable block of wood. This gives them a chance to regain a little dignity and as if of their own free will discover an alternative to the fruitless exercise of fence walking. It's a Eureka moment for them and off they go into the bright blue yonder, take a turn or two before heading for the light bulb where there's a whole Icarus thing which often ends up in a coffee cup.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

High Office

Not sure the extent to which high office applies to gardeners. It doesn't take much to dig a hole, plant something or turn a Compost Pile. A little empathy, perhaps, but otherwise we're not talking years of training, even if we are talking many, many more years of practice, heartbreak, physical exhaustion, injury and disappointment, all of which may contribute.

But the idea of for example sitting in the emergency ward struggling with something like a burst appendix in the hope that someone who might have received something like a lifetime achievement Oscar for playing the role of a magical aunt on the television might relieve you of your appendix, shouldn't make any sense.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Dictionaries

One of the early attempts at an English Language dictionary was the work of a man of spirit and opinion called Samuel Johnson. In his dictionary which was published in the 1750's he defined the word "Patron" this way. "A wretch who supports with indolence and is paid with flattery." His definition of "Refuse" (pronounced refyoos, or some call it trash) goes this way "That which remains disregarded when the rest is taken." Samuel Johnson's almost kittenish view of objectivity around words came to a screeching halt in the Victorian era with the introduction of what's called the Oxford English Dictionary, the first edition of which was at last completed in 1928, and which from 1879 until his death in 1915 was edited in part by a man called Sir James Augustus Henry Murray. During his time as editor he was responsible for words that began with A-D, H-K, O-P and T. James Murray was a Scotsman, he was a lexicographer and he was a philologist, all of which meant his understanding of language was guided by a more anthropological approach to the meaning of words, it was serious business and had nothing to do with humor or entertainment. Mind you there's not a great deal of distance between Johnson's "wind from behind"  and  "A slight explosion between the legs" which was the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "fart" when I was like a totally stable misunderstood nine year old.

One of Murray's techniques for researching the definition of words was to seek assistance from the general public. There were quite strict rules for those who wished to contribute, and many of those who made the effort erred upon the Johnsonian side and came up with all sorts of erroneous and puerile  examples of word usage, which is always a problem when dealing with the less dedicated masses, who do tend to wander in their understanding of logical conclusions. The great example from what now feels like 50 years ago was the General Public of the United Kingdom's decision in 2016 to name the National Environment Research Council's 200 million £ polar research ship, Boaty McBoatface.  A decision by poll which I'm sure would have sent Sir James Murray to turning in his grave, but which I rather like and which very adequately sums up what happens to empires. All the same one of the major contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary during Murray's tenure as editor, was a man called  Dr. William Chester Minor. An apparently upstanding contributor who'd  greatly impressed Murray with his detailed research into meaning of words as they were used in the literature of the day and in the past. The two men corresponded regularly and over the years a bromance developed. Time came for the two scholars to finally meet. Dr. Minor's postal address was the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, in Berkshire, England, where to Murray's surprise Dr. William Chester Minor was an inmate, not the Governor. Either way, I still prefer Johnson's definition of Patron and of Refuse.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winter Sports

The Girl Cat appears to have recovered from the tumultuous events of 2017 and possibly exacerbated by frigid weather she's quit the whole ornamental approach to being upon earth and has rediscovered her hunter gathering roots. Quite why cold weather has produced this response in her I really have no clue. And yet those who might claim that the hunter gathering life style invariably produces appalling personal habits, such as eating cheeseburgers in bed, should think again. The Girl Cat, who's beginning to look like a small woolly Saber Toothed Tiger, politely deposits her many and various hapless victims on the back step, where there's always a chance one or other of the proud primary caregivers might step on it.

It's the Kitten who's observed what I reckon is the more progressive attitude to cold weather. She doesn't like it, remains indoors, and to avoid any chance of frostbite insists upon being carried across frozen ground from the domicile to the Artists place of work, otherwise she gets terribly bored and roams the house in a far from endearing manner. And there's a chance that deep in her dark soul the Kitten has a yearning to follow a path her ancestors would look dimly upon, and I say "dark soul" because in her there are clear and worrying signs of what has to be a zoomorphic plagiarism. Can't tell you the number of times those indoors have had their attempts to make peace with the elements badly distressed by the Kitten playing what I guess is sort of feline ice hockey. The puck is usually a partial dissected frozen Vole sourced from the back step. The stick is a paw. The rink is the kitchen floor and the goal is somewhere under the refrigerator. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tourism Board

I know I've been here before, but Carmelite Monasteries or Convents should not look like Victorian Military Barracks. The fact that Bronwyn the Seamstress' Carmelites in Saint Barbara seem to have built a military barracks for themselves makes a total mockery of this winter's Winter Project. The answer is obvious, I'm going to have to clutter the grounds and environs of the convent with outbuildings and other grand schemes. After all the wise heads in Saint Barbara are keen to encourage tourism, they want people to visit, stay briefly, spend a great deal of money and then go back to wherever they came from, taking their litter and children with them. It's a good, healthy, xenophobic attitude ameliorated a little by the county's Tourism Board's "Have a Nice Day" project which attempts to advise citizens of the county on how to present a more pleasing and welcoming attitude toward outsiders, the weekly classes are free, snacks are provided, and residents are encouraged to attend.

One of the ideas floating around involves the Carmelite presence in the county, this means that turning Bronwyn's Monastery into a tourist attraction has met with stiff opposition from The Reverend Mother, as she's recently insisted upon being called. She's taken an almost violent objection to an idea from Major Bernice of Saint Barbara's Militia that a viewing stand should be erected on land adjoining the Monastery so that visitors to the county might see over the Monastery walls and get a sense of discalced lifestyle and habits for themsleves. A new railway station with canteen, tobacconist and ice cream stand would be constructed, and there'd be swings and slides for the younger crowd who might not be that interested in the comings and goings on Monastery grounds.  I like the idea myself, nothing wrong with railway stations, the more the merrier.  This one will have a curved platform, which does take planning.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Current Events

Were I a disgustingly wealthy person I'd have a special, windowless, padded room devoted entirely to Emotional Days Off. It would be well stocked with things like fruit cake, mash Potato and gravy, cans of sweetened condensed milk, there'd be hot and cold running water, a tooth brush, toilet facilities, an ennui recliner and shelves lined with books. But as a wishy-washy liberal such a space can only be imagined and so the options available to the set of emotions that sometimes just needs a good long break from current events is to issue a fatwa. Two days later a person wakes up cheerful, refreshed and then does something ridiculous, he decides to check the internet weather forecast for signs of hope.

One thing leads to another and the next thing you know he's reading about someone bursting into to tears of anguish when she discovers that her husband won a presidential election. A sensible well balanced and properly refreshed person, despite being eager for more, quickly dismisses this as an obvious case of Fake News, and does the new age equivalent of turning the page. "Iguanas are falling out of trees in Florida because it's so cold. Please don't pick them up." "Moore's 'Jewish Attorney' is a practicing Christian." "Eric Trump claims Ellen DeGeneres is running a Shadow Government." In the old days of course you could find emotional release by taking the newspaper outside and jumping up and down on it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Colder

In feels like terms your wintering correspondent is probably wearing the equivalent to forty pounds of assorted clothing, socks and hats, this means that climbing the stairs is as useful an activity as maybe digging over ten square yards of ground in early March. Climb the stairs four or five times and my sense of saintliness is such that I'm too exhausted to even think about doing anything foolish like going outside. It's the case also that in the search for perfection we saints understand the value of humility to the great oneness, we don't just sit there feeling smug as we stare at the floor, waiting.

Instead we remember the words of the Alawite Poet: "How can a man, creator of meaning, draw his destiny into one utterance. How can his spirit be poured into a wall." The reference is to monotheists though I guess it could just as well apply to the other wall. Mind you, there is no such thing as suitable hand-wear when it's like this outside, which is why we saints risk losing fingers to frostbite when we present ourselves to the outdoors to selflessly remind the Mockingbird of our existence by cursing the Northern Hemisphere and having a smoke. Sadly with poets, failure to observe traditional meter draws criticism from the purists, and it's the same with the political process. No wonder Bronwyn's Convent looks like a Victorian Military Barracks.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

At the peak of the Festive Season your correspondent had walked for miles through the parking area and he was inside the Grocery Store. The C-word was being tossed around like confetti by those who block the aisles with loaded shopping carts so they can engage in endless discussion around the complexities presented by long distance relatives who may or may not be visiting for the Day of Consumption. Nor can a polite shopper, who probably should have had a shave, just stand there clearing his throat, because it just doesn't work with those on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the prospect of the husband's aunt "dropping in again." Which means alternative routes around the logjam have to be mapped. And that was how I found myself in the Soft Drink aisle, remembering the two cans of Coca-Cola left over from one of the Artist's stranger projects that had something to do with pouring it over ancient wooden planks. Everyone knows that soft drinks of any kind are products of Satan and should only ever be purchased in pursuit of pure forms derived through creative exploration, and anything like a can or two of Coca-cola left over from such a worthy adventure are pretty much doomed to a life of purposelessness lost to the back of a shelf, unless a noble soul bravely puts them out of their misery by drinking them. It's a good cause, a charitable act, and doesn't taste too bad if you enjoy the sensation of sweet fizzy watery syrup bubbling through the dentures before quarreling with an amalgam of stomach acids that have certainly seen better days and take pleasure in letting you know it.

But there's a reason festive throngs are unable to forbid their more sickly offspring from running up and down Satan's Soft Drink Aisle shrieking at the top of their lungs and generally sniffling in a manner that can only be described as public health hazard. I had to pause to hold my breath beside the mountain of Coca-Cola. You could buy three 12 packs for ten dollars if you had the card. I had the card, but ten dollars is easily a sky scraper and several railway stations in N Scale and who in their right mind wants 36 cans of Coca-Cola. The other thing about genuine Coca-Cola is that it comes in a red can, and through the course of the year of 2017 some of us have developed a peculiar aphasic reaction to the color red that leaves us with the ability to hear but robs us of the ability to believe what's being said. Briefly I made the mistake of wondering why I hadn't used the sanitary tissues provided to wipe the handles of my obviously infectious shopping cart, and as I slowly convinced myself that I had every conceivable symptom of terminal flue, a young male labeled Duane wearing the award winning black shirt of an Associate of the Day asked me whether I needed help. I said, "No." To which he replied "Have a Happy Holidays!" "And a Very Merry New Year to you!" I fired back. A beam of light came down from the heavens and as glory shone all around, I almost damaged my elegant wrists lifting a 12 pack of Pepsi-Cola into my cart. It cost three dollars and fifty cents with card. And for those interested, Pepsi-Cola comes in a comprehensible blue can with a maybe three electoral votes sized bit of red on it.