Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve, not the spelling

There are few things less exciting than listening to or reading other people's 2018 Year in Review, or Top Five Events, Lessons learned or whatever you want to call it. So here's mine. Number 5: Developing a relationship with lunch. For years and years I regarded lunch as the preview of the neurotic, and eating lunch an unnecessary and wholly aggravating interruption to routine. Well I was wrong, lunch is an essential part of both mental and physical balance. Number 4: Traditional Republicans. For years and years, I considered Republicans and Tories as being without imagination, hopeless examples of reactionary behaviors, pretty much a blot on the course of humanity. This year I have come to understand that Traditional Republicans were beacons of heavenly light when compared to this new lot of self serving caterwauling mental patients who have somehow seduced an innocent electorate.

Number 3: Meaning and Being. In my continuing battle with comprehension I have currently concluded that Heidegger is the critical figure in the progress of 20th Century thought. As we wait for the singularity which will occur sometime this century, and which no doubt will come dressed in jeans and dollar signs, I have resolved that the Meaning of Being is Meaning and the Meaning of Meaning is Being. Meanwhile I will refer to Being as Meaning. Number 2: The Irish Potato. Irish Potatoes are cool weather plants unsuited to this part of the planet. Always plant an early maturing variety, preferably a red one, and do not overfeed the plants. Like so many this is a cruel lesson, worth learning, otherwise and you challenge the purpose of life. Number 1:  Ladybirds and Domestic Felines. Both are demanding household winter companions, both are willful and sneaky in the matter of getting their own way, but in the long run, of the two species, Ladybirds are probably a great deal more helpful.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


Bluebirds discussing the pros and cons of the several nest boxes along the fence. I did offer the suggestion it was all a little premature, but as everyone should know even though Bluebirds are capable of noisily extemporizing in an often senseless manner Bluebirds are chess players and chess players are strategic thinkers who think ahead, they plan their moves well before the boys in their number absorb the ambiences of the longer days by turning an ever richer blue, a dart of color which easily matches Joan of Arc's dashing Kingfisher and brings hope to the blue skies for a calm in which we people might exist beyond outrage, shock, weeping and wailing for the entertainment of the few. All of which is an attempt to explain the twelve cans of Pepsi Cola, two cans of sweetened condensed milk and a carton of eggs I secured yesterday following an incredibly courageous and almost totally pointless journey to the Grocery Store. You'd think I'd know by now to emulate the Bluebird, play chess when in the world, instead of dithering around like a Calling Dove.

In the Grocery Aisles, where appearance is everything, we shut-ins are well able to recognize each other. We wander nervously around with our cart which as a rule is the only one with a squeak in the wheels and we wonder how it's possible for the mind to go completely blank when we discover we have somehow mislaid our well considered and very legible shopping list. "Happy New Year!" "Very unlikely," I found myself replying. It's the tension of the moment of course that produces such dourness. A tension cheered a little by spotting cans of sweetened condensed milk, two of which in an attempt to look functional I found it necessary to place in my shopping cart. A carton of eggs can be useful and then I saw a red mountain of Coca Cola cans. My heart filled with a desperate need to seek oblivion in several bottles of whisky, an increasingly natural reaction to the color red along with the facile concept of MAGA associated with it. Fortunately there's a sense of redemption in a blue twelve pack of Pepsi Cola, politely hidden away near the pharmaceutical products.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Abusing Foodstuffs

"Chardonnay paired with Lobster Mash Potato." I had to switch the Internet Radio off. Mash potato, fine not problem with it. Nothing wrong with Lobster, feel sad they have to be boiled alive, which seems cruel and unusual, but what do you expect from people who eat or catch Lobster. Chardonnay is some kind of wine, I believe, sounds French, and nothing wrong with French Wine, it's the Virginia Wine you've got to watch because you can't grow grapes in Virginia without pretty much poisoning every single insect, mold and fungi spore within ten miles of a Grape Vine.

 It's this "paired" business which totally defeats me. If you're in any doubt, pairing food products is when you make a huge deal about matching one food to another, and naturally enough in this incredibly painful attempt to remain relevant to the world there are "No, No's" and incorrectly matched foodstuffs can cause people to turn the nose up, become as judgmental as a temporary replacement for the Angel at the Pearly Gates. Never forget comrades there's absolutely nothing wrong with French Fry and Mayonnaise White Bread Sandwiches especially if the bread is buttered with beef dripping. We're not that dumb, it's not a bloody wedding, learn tolerance. So looking forward to December 21st.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Red Bricks and Tunnels

I do remember Bo Peep Junction, West Saint Leonards, on the Hastings side of Po Beep Tunnel. And in the interests of fair disclosure, the South East corner of the English part of the Island is not a part of the world I have anything remotely resembling empathy for. Incidentally, the Bo Peep of tunnel fame has nothing to do with sheep or careless rosy cheeked Shepherdesses. Bo Peeps were paid by Public Houses to keep an eye out for the Ale Conner, an elected official in Medieval England whose job was to test the quality of the beer, and no doubt in my mind that medieval South East England swarmed with both Ale Conners and Bo Peeps.

Between West Saint Leonards and Hastings there was another tunnel. This one was called the Hastings Tunnel. With the Hastings Tunnel, heading east, you could poke your head out the window of the railway carriage and as the line curved a little you could see the tunnels entrance. One thing about the Hastings Tunnel is that it went underneath a whole bunch of houses. The other thing about the Hastings Tunnel entrance is or was that it had a sort of mantel, looked like a giant fireplace and it was made of red brick. And I think possibly if I could remove this image from my mind I might be able to get rid of this absurd idea of using scale bricks to build the two tunnel entrances required for the North, North, East side of N Scale.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Old Fools and Horses

There could be a few things that can match the discussion of N Scale on these pages for dullness, not sure what they are at the moment, suspect your correspondent attempting to become lyrical around Compost Piles, the Existentialist Thinkers or the world as inhabited by the Political Class could be several of them. But I will say thank goodness the Senior Senator for Utah is leaving the US Senate, the man has been a totally out of touch decrepit old fool since his sixtieth birthday which in the January of 2019 will be a nice round twenty five years ago.

Nothing wrong with decrepit old fools, I'm one myself so I know what I'm talking about for a change. Spend most of my waking hours accusing demons of hiding the close up glasses from me, blaming The Kitten for disappearing a brand new approximately 500 bag of very hard to come by minute track laying nails, yes we're talking out of the tri-county region travel difficult. I swear she deliberately knocked them into a trashcan and $3.99 just gone to the wind. Either way, it's time for age limits in Politics otherwise soon enough we'll be represented by the cryogenically frozen which I'm pretty certain my own State's Senior Senator in the US Congress would choose to have done rather than surrender the reins of power for any thing respectable like gardening gloves and a sunhat.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Bricks, Blocks and the Kangaroo

The idea of making maybe a couple of thousand very small bricks is a tad daunting. Consequently what remains of my mind has become like a Kangaroo, it's bounding around as the distinction between mythos and logos seeks solace in the possibilities of making a mould that'll eventually churn out all the little bricks a person could ever need. Silicon and mould release, it's about as exciting a prospect as finding an old sock, and yet if the little bricks were all made, I'd gobble them up, and then I'd need more and more of them.

A standard brick is around 3.5 inches x 2.25 inches x 8 inches. 8 real inches in N Scale, where 10 real feet is three quarters of an inch, presents a problem. Which means better to think blocks, not brick. And in the end the sensible thing to do will be to settle down to the kind of giant dressed blocks of stone Ancient Egyptians used to build pyramids. These I can make with a sharp blade and Balsa Wood. In the meanwhile I'll just have to wait for my hyperactive antipodean friend, who is currently approaching his midsummer, to stop bouncing around.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Decorative Accents

North, North, East Corner has reached the point where the track is laid, and on reflection that was probably the easy part of this N Scale Winter, kind of like there's no wood on the porch. Decorative accents are a whole new lump of wax, primarily because decorative accents do not dictate They belong to posy which is an archaic word that also meant a bunch of flowers and still does mean a bunch of flowers. Posy is stuff like lines of verse which in Aristotle' s elements of persuasion, logos, ethos and pathos are more a part of the ethos, pathos side. It's an area out of which very few decisions have ever been successfully made and pretty much all of them have ended up on what's called the dustbin of history..

 Words, like railway lines have structure, they are more about logos. In short Posy emerges from suspicion and uncertainty and you kind of know posy when you see it, or hear it or read it as verse or experience it. "The sky is blue like an orange," makes a posy type  sense but you wouldn't want to launch a rocket to Mars on such a wishy-washy passing moment of posy. At the same time a desire to launch a rocket to Mars is more likely about posy, so there's a whole roundabout thing with us people, which is why Artificial Intelligence will have us beat when it has the capacity to fend for itself, unless it succumbs to a very intelligent winter ennui and just sort sits there being all about logos instead of diligently entertaining itself by plotting the conquest of the universe..

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What is Thinking

"What is Thinking?" is a book by Martin Heidegger that was written during a rehabilitation that followed from his purported support of Adolf Hitler. When Hitler came to power, our friend Martin had a good job at a University and such were the times that to keep his job and all the good things that went with it, he had to bow down to the Political Party in Power and stop thinking about the possibility that the Nazi Party might not be an expression of the authentic. Following the war Martin was roundly castigated for the errors of his ways by all and sundry, and he had a difficult time finding a teaching job.

But sadly it's the case that you don't send Professors of Philosophy to ditch digging and factory work, it's seen as a slippery slope by other Professors of Philosophy, kind of like fallen tyrants if they're not bumped off by irate citizens they always seem to find a home somewhere. Idi Amin Dada Ourmee is a classic example, it was Colonel Gadfafi of Libya not a North Korean who first gave Idi a home, in 1980 he was given sanctuary by the Royal Family of Saudi Arabi where he died in 2003 at the age of between 74 to 80, his date of birth uncertain.  Either way "What is thinking?" is a damned good question and Martin's book while not exactly a ripping yarn is well worth reading.

Monday, December 10, 2018

General Theory

Nothing more dangerous than waiting for glue to dry. An N Scale Novice just sits there staring at it, enters a reverie familiar to the Fox Squirrel, soon enough his mind wanders, and before he knows it a whole new more sensible layout plan emerges, becomes concrete in the ethers and if he's not very careful out come the sharp knives and jackhammers. And this is why the slightly more experienced N Scale Modeler doesn't watch glue dry, he listens to an Internet Radio twenty four hour television news program so that he can spend most of his waking hours cursing the Advertising Professionals and their unforgivably evil concept of our world.

"Give the gift of panettone." It's a breathless whisper from a male voice who's clearly in the process of struggling with an incomprehensible relationship with Italian bakery products instead of usefully writing well reasoned emails to his spineless congressman. The female significant other in this truly icky pair, who had never been able to find the time to visit The Gym, becomes irrationally excited when she hunts down her seasonal gift, and worth remembering we boys have never been able to hide anything from girls. The thing is, for some weeks, what I heard as "panettone" which is the Italian bread that comes in an impossible to open box, it has the nutritional value of a rice cake and four raisons, and will outlast a landfill, was actually, "Give the gift of Peloton." Which, and who on earth is supposed to know this, is an incredibly expensive stationary bicycle that's generally photographed in what could be a sanitized library..... I weep for our people!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Gift of Charism

Charism is like charisma only it's a supernatural gift of grace given to particular people for the purpose of building up the church for everybody. There's a whole list of these special gifts and amongst them is the discernment of, or ability to see, Spiritual Agents. These agents include Angels and Devils, there's also the tricky area of Divine Grace which is a good agent and there are agents of Concupiscence, an odd word, a little suggestive and well worth at least contemplating.

First thing to note is that Concupiscence is a badness that comes from human soul, it's seen as a desire of the lower appetites and is contrary to reason. It's a never satisfied passion to draw as much of reality as possible into oneself, including knowledge, power, sex and in the process of satisfying this lower appetite never uniting with, affirming or loving another being. Call me special, possessed of at least one gift of Charism if you like, because I suspect there's some sort of agent of concupiscence disguised as the current US President.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Blessed Release

Not many people know this, but one of the obvious cures for the sort of restlessness that can lead to sore feet, sinus trouble, dizzy spells and hives is an early seasonal gift of 25, 3 foot lengths of N Scale cork railroad bed ($14.99) and a pack of 48 N Code 80 rail joiners ($2.87.) Oh sure, there'll be some who call this sort of thing a pathetic case of grasping hypochondria that should be strongly discouraged in those of us who are clearly facing the horrible prospect of a second childhood. But I don't care, I feel great, there's a light at the end of the tunnel, the tooth will be pulled, life may soon return to a normal, mundane and very ordinary routine, it's as though the clouds have opened to reveal a heavenly host and soon enough I might even spend a night asleep instead of wandering around in a kind of purgatory that not even Dante could adequately describe this side of his having lived long enough to visit Disney World or the foyer of a Hardware Store in December.

The problem is the 5 rail lines in the North End (which strictly speaking is the North, North East Corner) have to go under a wide tunnel, we're talking a good 2 square feet of incredibly valuable real estate. This means access to these rail lines for the purposes of maintenance requires a removable tunnel roof. Currently the North, North East Corner, short of suspending myself from the ceiling cannot be reached comfortably, and when standing on tiptoes working on it I have so far succeeded in damaging some tendons in my left foot, which is the good foot, tilted forward, sprained my wrist and banged my head several times which aggravates an old complaint of the inner ear that results in my hearing a constant and entirely unnecessary high pitched whining sounds interspersed by spells of dizziness which may in the past have led to hives. Just a few more days of agony and the rail lines should be in place, functioning, no trains constantly derailing each other, all of it beautifully concealed from the casual observer and ready for what in the future could be a scene resembling the cover of a Gormenghast paperback. Yes indeed, "holy, holy, holy."

Friday, December 7, 2018

N Scale Tensions

Alright Chaps! I'd like to think that I've been negotiating with Kazakhstani Oligarchs on matters critical to the survival of Liberal Democracy. Well I can't do that but I can report that I have been negotiating with the Saint Barbara's Barefoot Carmelites who in almost every respect could teach Kazakhstani Oligarchs a lesson or two in outright ruthlessness. Still can't see what's wrong with putting a magnificent railway bridge over the roofs of Saint Barbara's Carmelite Hermitage, but there you go, the Lord does work in mysterious ways and apparently not only would I be breaking several Sacred Laws I'd also be breaking far too many of the more Temporal Laws of Physics.

So it's down to plan B. And on this I do have tremendous support from the Barbarian Department of Tourism, who are all for a viewing platform on the north side of the River Styx from which binoculars can be trained on the Hermitage and rest assured there'll be a big financial reward for any tourist capturing a photograph of a Carmelite wearing anything like socks or shoes or sandals or gum boots. "How," I've been asked, "can I possibly sink so low?" The thing about us tyrants we don't mess around when it comes to getting our way particularly on the subject of wide curves for 2-6-4 steam locomotives hauling a multitude of carriages, and I can pretty much guarantee that by this time next year Carmelite emissaries will be begging me to break the Laws of Physics.