The Emperor Ming: Klytus, I’m bored. What plaything can you offer me today?
Are illiterate and less well-read/educated people more susceptible to superstition or do they “naturally” accept fairy tales for their standard set of beliefs rather than pursue myth-busting knowledge for their own sake?
How many myths about the current conditions of your contemporary society/culture do you accept for granted?
For instance, I still believe that the achievements of the U.S. government during the Nixon administration overshadow the actions and events that eventually led to Nixon committing ritual political suicide and resigning from office. If it weren’t for Jimmy Carter, we wouldn’t have Billy Beer.
However, despite the artists’ international achievements, the alleged pedophilia of Michael Jackson and Woody Allen I can’t justify in the same understanding that great art requires personal self-sacrifice, not the destruction of others (e.g., Van Gogh cut off his own ear, not somebody else’s); otherwise, it degrades into war, military and/or cultural, creating a different set of myths than I want to read about.
What about lives lost, families torn apart and/or ecosystems destroyed for the sake of a bridge, building or industry?
On that last thought I will meditate the rest of the day…
My life right now: feeding a microwaved mix of canned food and sliced “deli-style” turkey to a cat that cycles through days of sneezing blood and mucus interspersed with days of just-plain gargled breathing; I type with my left hand on the keyboard while in the right arm cradling my little velveteen feline buddy as he falls asleep into the cat dream world of his, sawing branches with his snoring.
Thus, I am not alone.
I eat leftover popcorn and watch “The Giant Mechanical Man.”
I do not like deciding the fate of others but I go ahead anyway, stirring the pond’s waters and redirecting the pebbled waves I quietly dropped in my monklike meditation.
It — the mysterious two-letter word that commands attention at the beginning of this sentence — is no easier now to order the elimination of labeled beings we train ourselves to see as the Others, “them,” as it was the first time I let peer pressure push me to end the life of a being that could not live in the hustle and bustle of so-called modern society.
I is one letter less than it.
I am this artificial label for a relatively dense set of states of energy we sometimes say is a human being.
A head concussion in high school split my brain apart.
Ever since then, I have reconstructed the universe in small quantities and big ideas.
Something about my corpus callosum bothers me.
Gray matter matters, too.
I have stopped drinking alcoholic liquids/beverages.
I have dedicated at least one book each to my parents, my wife, Monica, Ann P., Maggie and who else? I have not finished the book I plan to dedicate to Jenn.
I can say what a book is not but can I truly, really say what a book is?
Twenty-one days since I last checked the Mars countdown calendar.
My next book to read: Sagittarius Rising.
Who knew that I was related to the actor portraying “fearless” April O’Neil?!
My family tree followed by Megan’s paternal family tree:
Am I dreaming? Somebody tell me I’m wrong!
IS Johnny Knoxville next?
Deutschland über alles. I figured out why Argentina lost the World Cup — their coach was Patrick Magee, who starred in “A Clockwork Orange” as Mr. Alexander:
Frank Alexander: Food alright?
Alex: Great sir, great!
Frank Alexander: Try the wine!
Frank Alexander: [hears knocking on the door] Who on Earth could that be?
Julian: I’ll see who it is.
[goes to the front door]
Julian: Yes, what is it?
Alex: [barely audible] Help… please… help… help.
Julian: [opens the door and Alex collapses at the doorway. He carries Alex into the house] Frank, I think this young man needs some help.
Frank Alexander: [surprised by Alex’s poor condition] My God! What happened to you, my boy?
Alex: [voice-over] And would you believe it, o my brothers and only friends. There was your faithful narrator being held helpless, like a babe in arms, and suddenly realizing where he was and why home on the gate had looked so familiar, but I knew I was safe. For in those care-free days, I and my so-called droogies wore our maskies, which were like real horror-show disguises.
Alex: [nervous] Police… ghastly horrible police… they beat me up, sir.
[sees Frank has a foul look on his face, apparently not believing him]
Alex: The police beat me up, sir.
Frank Alexander: [excited] I know you!
Frank Alexander: Isn’t it your picture in the newspapers? Didn’t I see you on the video this morning? Are you not the poor victim of this horrible new technique?
Alex: [relieved] Yes, sir! That’s exactly who I am and what I am, sir. A victim, sir!
Frank Alexander: Then, by God, you’ve been sent here by providence! Tortured in prison, then thrown out to be tortured by the police. My heart goes out to you, poor, poor boy. Oh, you are not the first to come here in distress. The police are fond of bringing their victims to the outskirts of this village. But it is providential that you, who are also another kind of victim should come here.
Frank Alexander: [finally remembering Alex’s state] Oh, but you’re cold and shivering. Julian, draw a bath for this young man.
Julian: Certainly, Frank.
Alex: [as he is being carried off by Julian] Thank you very much, sir. God bless you, sir.
How many of you are nest builders/maintainers?
In 27 years of owning a wood-sided domicile, I spent the first ten years mowing grass, planting perennials, washing windows and picking up fallen tree branches.
I built a wooden deck, backyard water garden and rock path (the last two composed of three tonnes of rock I hand-carted three times, thus lifting nine tonnes in a matter of a few weeks (with knee and lower back problems bothering me for years afterward)).
We paid to have our roof shingles replaced once after a series of hail storms denuded the shingles.
But I don’t mow the lawn anymore. Instead of grass, our lawn is covered with Vinca major, two versions including a variegated variety and the common variety as well as Vinca minor, poison ivy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle, and tree saplings that sprout up in between.
Portions of our asphalt shingles are covered in moss which creates a heavier gravitational pull on individual shingles, resulting in chunks of shingles breaking loose and sliding into the gutter or onto the ground.
Missing shingles expose the wood underneath, leading to wood rot and water leaking onto the sheetrock ceiling of our living space, creating stains and eventually holes (one wet place in the sheetrock was bounced upon by two raccoons playfighting in our attic — much to their and our surprise, they fell through the sheetrock at four o’clock in the morning [Intruder alert!]).
I’m no Johnny Fix-it-on-the-spot. I’m not Rip Van Winkle. I’m more like the monkeys with the leaking roof who knew when it rained that they needed to fix the roof but when the weather was nice there was too much else to do than fix a roof that wasn’t just then leaking.
However, given enough impetus I can force myself into situations that require a modicum of handyman skills.
Yesterday, I watched a video online about how to replace broken roof shingles and felt like an instant expert.
Pulled our aluminium extension ladder from the hooks on the garage wall, leaned the ladder against the house, making sure it rested against the cathedral ceiling section for extra support, climbed on the roof and surveyed its condition.
Lots of dead leaves collected in the crooks between the cathedral ceiling eaves and the eaves of the ranch house roof section — swept them off (and for the first time in years, no raccoon poop in the leaves! Cutting down the 20-foot tall fig tree and 30-foot tall foxglove/empress tree, Paulownia tomentosa, last fall removed the raccoon, squirrel and roof rat pathways to our roof.) and looked at the shingle condition.
The fifteen-year life of the 25-year shingles has expired, I’m pretty sure.
Anyway, I located the spot on the roof where the water was leaking down into the front bedroom (a/k/a the study/office/storage/tinkerer’s/writer’s/my room) which has shown a widening paramecium-shaped area of discolouration in the popcorn ceiling.
I used a long crowbar to remove roofing nails on the shingles above the broken piece and the broken piece itself, removed the broken piece, slid in a new one (thanks to the roofer for leaving us a couple of half-used shingle packs) and nailed everything back in place.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Well, while sweeping the leaves, I felt light-headed and heard blood whooshing behind my ears. With the ambient temperature well above 90 deg F, little breeze and dark asphalt shingles, it gets hot on a roof. The fifteen to thirty minutes up there and this middle-aged guy felt a heat stroke coming on, his core body temperature rising faster than expected.
Into the house I went, sat on the sofa with my house companion (wife, not cat, in this case), let my body cool and returned to the roof to remove the shingle. In that five to ten minute period, my body temp shot up again.
I returned for the final stage of sliding in the new shingle and tacking everything into place.
I would have snapped a selfie up there but I didn’t want the photo to be my last.
Now that I know how to replace shingles, I’m practically a real man.
Well, I’d say that but as I drove through the neighbourhood, there was a man and his wife, he dressed in plaid shirt and denim jeans, she dressed in plaid blouse and denim leg-length skirt, working on their roof in the hot weather, not taking a break.
I’m still a real man, but now with extra skills.
My wife’s honey-do list might just get done, or at least shortened, if I keep up this skill-building feat.
Meanwhile, our second Cornish Rex cat, Erin, seems to have reduced his eating down to a few nibbles — his body weight is like a feather — don’t know how much longer he’ll live.
Germany plays Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final today — how many jokes going around about Germany’s sons playing the sons of the Boys from Brazil who immigrated to Argentina? We shall see…
I wondered why I had stopped writing lengthy blog posts and short stories — it dawned on me that since I got hearing aids I can spend time in the forest listening to the forest rather than returning to a computing device to blog about what I’ve seen and thought.
Speaking of which, now that the basic form of the cedar bridge is done, I can progress to the next phase of turning it into a kinetic work of art using my new microcontroller-based system, the Micro Python board.
Two dragonflies were mating in midair outside the sunroom window just now and somehow a squirrel found its way onto the sunroom roof. Life in the forest is never boring, much more fun than debating the [de]merits of recently revealed details of the the NSA spying program that exposes the fact freedom is illusory and privacy a luxury in the electronic world.