All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Readership Drive

There is a noticeable decline in comments lately. I don't follow stats closely but it would suggest a commensurate lull in readership. So I will use a photo that Norma took a few hours ago in hopes it will attract followers:
I didn't know she was photoing me or I would have tried to look less like I was peeing on the walkway --I was not. But it gives me opportunity to quote a favorite Latvian stage comedian, Gatis Kandis: "To those of you who would like to follow me, this is how I look from behind."

Yes, I know, I am a 68 year-old man you probably shouldn't walk in front of, but under that frosty hair a poem composes:
                    Each day comes, goes
                    As days do, and those
                    I spend with you
                    Contain a sum of me.
                    Those rare days gained
                    Here and there in
                    Existence sustained
                    Me since, and trained 
                    Me to be kind -- now,
                    What was it? Oh,
                    What was on my mind?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Babel



I haven't thought of a theme for this post yet, but reckoned this 20-second miracle of pronunciative skill would help. Listen:


Liam Dutton pronouncing "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgoggogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch"

If we consult the Bible, Genesis 11: 1-9, we find the whole world had a common language which moved eastward with Earthlings to the plains of Shinar, where they settled. They built a tall tower to celebrate, but used materials --brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar-- which offended the Almighty and other investors who accused humans of hubris and inferior materials then responded by collapsing the tower and confounding the languages of the planet. The Welsh were suddenly overwhelmed with consonants while the Hawaiians got stuck with all the vowels. It was around this historical calamity that vowels became a fungible medium of exchange.  

My own ancestors came from Portugal in the 1800s with family names that had scads of vowels, like Azevedo, and were encouraged to sell them in exchange for prosperity in the new world --they became the Browns. 

But all the brave abbreviations various families made  fade faster into history when we run across a weather report like Liam Dutton's. He ran through the 60(+or-) letters of a Welsh town with accuracy and nonchalance. He is my hero.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Not-Bad Saturday


I begin this post --with little idea where it's going-- with a Normaphoto of a segment of her garden:

The garden is a good place to spend Easter Eve, or Dark Saturday or any of the other names given to the day before Easter. Most people don't call it anything. It's always a quiet day here --a day during which the northern hemisphere conducts renewal and birth, which are tremendous operations and not a bad way to spend a Saturday. 

These processes are best monitored from gardens, even if it's only a potted plant on the window sill, a bird flying past an apartment window, a sunbeam on the floor. As I may have written here before, it's all one garden and it grows around a star. So I wish you all a happy Easter, from not-bad Saturday, wherever you are.
 

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Day --an Unresolved Day

Let's face it, we all have them --at least I hope I'm not the only one. They begin like any other day --deceptive, capricious, full of  carouselling karma, maytagging molecules-- with scenes like this:
I was answering comments to a prior post. I got done, then dressed for errands. I wanted to go to the bank --in hopes they will someday give out free samples like grocery stores-- and drop by the grocery store for free samples . I fired up the Mazda. I fired up the Mazda again. The Mazda finally got out of the driveway. I stayed home:
You can tell I troubled to dress in my Monday best. I said, "Bye Mazda, have a nice expensive vacation. See you next weekend."
I walked back up our lane, feeling low and mean, then saw the rusty '71 VW Bus with vines growing over it.  "What the heck?" I thought and climbed in. Turned the ignition key and the old thing roared into life --despite all the time I'd neglected it. 

Time. 

Time is many things at many levels of reality, but it always is a measure of entropy. Entropy is the ongoing rate of disruption in a closed system --like a car, like me. Cars are only partially conscious, but we get ringside seats.  Time turns us into things we've never been before. No wonder I had to go sit down in the bus, I was jumpy--dreading another surprise from time.

I took Bus to the corner store. Gassed her up and bought us each a bottle of Merlot --which of course she ceded back to me.
I poured one in the kitchen and checked what was coming in from Norma's Iphone. This:
Honestly, I don't know how she does it. No fancy camera, no special lenses, wild things just let her get close --in this instance, a couple inches.  She knows scenes like this get me breathing right again. Now it's late at night, and a half-glass of good Woodbridge Merlot gets me ready for bed, but it's the closing photo of a busy bee that will calm and sooth my head.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Right Rocks

Norma loves bricks.  She also dislikes straight lines. Along with gender, this is the major difference between us. I am a guy, and bricks are rectangular. Guys know brick walkways are supposed to be straight. It's like when we shop, we go straight to what we want and go straight to the checkout counter, then straight back to the car. Women don't. They wander all over a store, double back, circle around a few hours or days and finally find some item that was invented, marketed, stocked and sold while they looked for it. But I digress.

I have hauled bricks for walkways to this property for many years. Norma creates plans for the walkways. None are straight. All  are curvy. I protest emphatically. She says, "Set them as they are plotted."

I say, "But there will be gaps!"

She says, "Gaps will be filled when we find the right rocks." ,

I am always surprised at her answer. Surprise is psychological condition caused by dopamine, a neurotransmitter, carrying a compelling message through the brain: the extent to which a reward or punishment differs from expectation. It directly affects mood, memory, attention and cognition, and therefore qualifies as a vehicle of addiction, fear, strong emotional response, involuntary conditioning, slavish agreement, flight or fight, and the strange expression men get when they decide to uproot to tend an off-shore oil rig in Qatar. This is all due to a molecule, dopamine --the irreducible essence of what guys call "going apeshit". 

But then, after 48 years of marriage, I look into her eyes and ask myself, "Is this the face of someone who will always insist upon curvy brick walkways?"
 
And I must say yes. I will, however redirect your attention to the first photo and point out the fact she found the right rocks to fill the gaps. Moreover, I must --as a guy-- warn all other guys about dopamine and all molecules: Stay away from molecules! They are dangerous! Especially brain ones!


Saturday, March 10, 2018

1963

In the summer of 1963, I was standing atop Parnell Tower with my siblings and cousins. Parnell tower is a 60-foot wooden observation tower in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.  The forest is flat, having been scraped ahead by a glacier. It is part of the Ice Age National Trail --where glaciers leveled Earth in search of the sea.

I suspect glaciers could think, but am not sure they were compassionate. They did, however, provide places for towers from which fluids could be discharged and observed --this of course was in 1963, when there was far less chance of people being below. I noticed droplets assumed a spherical shape which they maintained so long as they were falling weightless. I noticed this again 55 years later, in little, from a Normaphoto: 
 This illustration of spherical droplets required somewhat less altitude than can be achieved at Parnell Tower. Observe:
The little solar-powered fountain is presided over by a concrete goose who, in my capacity of Goose Repair Technician, received a new head in return for its future vigilance. I hope, someday, that same kindness will be conferred upon me.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Exposé Memoir!

Today is the closing day of February, a march in time. It is probably a good idea to write down some account of my memories and learning experiences from youth before they become vague and distorted. 

I went to high school a very very long time ago. Here is a photo of me running track. Earth had cooled; I was in good shape.

By the time I evolved into a mammal (puberty) I realized I had to stop eating slower creatures and consider a career.  I consulted a certified school career counselor who said, "Find a job you don't mind too much and everything will fall into place." 

My first job was cleaning teeth off the dance floor at the Coconut Grove Hall on Sunday mornings. Strangely, I tired of this and decided to go back to school --knowing I could never again believably disarm my enemies by shaking my fisted claw and roaring, "You can't insult me. I'm too damned ignorant!"

I began to learn, "He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind (Proverbs, Ch 11, v 9)." This meant 2 things to me: strife in the home causes indigestion; indigestion causes wind.  By and by, extrapolation is inevitable: It is better for domestic life to go down the commode than back up out of it. I also learned what that little valve left of the pedestal is for!

I read. I read Westerns and learned what "drygulched" meant  --ambushed from above. Hoodwinked meant you could cry "Zounds, I've been hoodwinked!", which is sort of fun. But "hornswoggled" just sounded so pleasant to me, I'm not sure I'd mind. I am indebted, for much of my education, to Zane Grey --and to Norma, who took these photos in the woody end of our yard;
And under the trees I planted:
Beyond these cerebral enshrinements, there are numbers, 3 come to mind --BP, Cholesterol, Telephone-- that we should not forget. I have also found it useful to remember the answer to questions like this: In a leap-year, how many months contain 29 days? 

All of them.