By Baby Pink, The Happy Dragon, and Star-Craving Mad
Epigraph: “The ‘Hood I grew up in was the Likely Hood: we were poor, but we thought anything was probable.” --Pete Boggs
As I write, it is a dark and stormy night. I have unplugged my laptop so it’s not fried if a bolt hits the house. I have a surge protector on the power strip, but does a prudent person bet the ranch on those things?
I have also run a bathtub full of water, for if the power goes out, we lose water from the well -- we aren’t hooked up to city water -- and cannot flush our toilets more than once.
There’s a particular eavestrough downspout that tends to clog even though (or perhaps because) it has a thing like a light-bulb shaped ball of wire at its top. When it clogs, the rain gutter overflows and pretty soon the basement starts to admit water. I try to clean it before any predicted storm -- o how the weather people cry wolf -- but sometimes the storm itself will drive debris to the wire bulb and clog it, and sometimes the rain is just so fast and plentiful it overwhelms even an unclogged gutter and downspout.
Sometimes when I see the gutter in question overflowing, I go outside in the rain, climb a metal ladder, and unclog the clog. Tonight, with the lightning flashing and thunder crashing and lights flickering, I don’t think so.
The Colonel's Lady and I are both happy: she because “we need the rain” and I because I find the nearness of sudden death stimulating. (Kidding. Maybe.)
As a boy, though, I would sit happily on the covered front stoop of our house, watching storms and hurricanes raging just feet away but never touching me unless the wind made the rain go horizontal.
The street in front of the house became a river, a parade of passing raindrop ballerinas.
Ever since, rainstorms, especially violent ones, have made me feel cozy, safe, and sleepy. The retreat of storms leaves me feeling disappointed and forsaken. Snowstorms in winter seem like quiet promises of real storms to come in summer.
Though climate chaos may be upon us, it’s my impression that summer storms have become fewer and less intense since my boyhood. My best guess is that I affect the weather in my vicinity. It’s an aura thing; you wouldn’t understand.
Nowadays flying is so unpleasant that you can’t really sit back, relax, and ponder how Death’s long bony black finger is reaching out toward you, ready to tap your shoulder and start your spiral into the First Abyss. No, flying today has all the nastiness of being buried alive, and none of the attraction.
Melania Trump doesn’t always look so glamorous, especially first thing in the morning before she’s had her first cup of coffee and snapped on her cheekbones. (I know: meow.)
Who had the better career, Shania Twain or Faith Hill? Maybe Amy Grant knows. Magic earrings tell her all she needs to know.
“Farstunken” is the word of the year this election year. Whoever invented Yiddish was a genius.
Three conceptions of duty, in chronological order:
Aeneas: Troy is lost, in flames, and Aeneas is with his exhausted, despairing father. The shade of his just-killed wife Creusa has appeared to him, telling him not to seek her but to flee. Longing to fight on and die in glory, Aeneas chooses instead to flee to fulfil his destiny to found a new Troy (Rome). Here’s how two translators express Aeneas's later account of what he did then.
So I resigned myself, picked up my father,
And turned my face toward the mountain range.
So I gave way at last and
lifting my father, headed toward the mountains.
Constantine XI Palaiologos: His death marked the end of the Roman Empire, which had continued in the East for 977 years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Constantine led the defence of the city (Constantinople) and took an active part in the fighting alongside his troops in the land walls. At the same time, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain the necessary unity between the Genoese, Venetian, and Greek troops. Constantine died the day the city fell, 29 May 1453. His last recorded words were, "The city is fallen and I am still alive." Then he tore off his imperial ornaments so as to let nothing distinguish him from any other soldier and led his remaining soldiers into a last charge where he was killed. John Yossarian: In Catch-22, Captain Yossarian tries to survive the insanity of his superior officers and others -- Milo Minderbinder comes to mind -- in WWII Italy, and finally decides to desert and make his way to neutral Sweden to wait out the war. His friend Nately had already been killed in combat, and when Yossarian gave the bad news to the prostitute Nately had adored and wanted to marry, she became enraged and fixed in her mind the goal of killing Yossarian, as if he were responsible. She made numerous unsuccessful attempts. Before departing, Yossarian says goodbye to a few friends:
"How do you feel, Yossarian?"
"Fine. No, I'm very frightened."
"That's good," said Major Danby. "It proves you're still alive. It won't be fun."
Yossarian started out. "Yes it will."
"I mean it, Yossarian. You'll have to keep on your toes every minute of every day. They'll bend heaven and earth to catch you."
"I'll keep on my toes every minute."
"You'll have to jump."
"Jump!" Major Danby cried.
Nately's whore was hiding just outside the door. The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.
“We hope for heaven but love the life we know.”
The cheesy movie “Sharknado!” had an equally cheesy sequel “Sharknado II.” I guess it would have been hard to work an exclamation into the title of the second without confusion. The premise was that a waterspout (marine tornado) sucked a mass of sharks from the ocean and deposited them on Los Angeles, where they attacked everything in sight. I have an idea for a more benign sequel: “Sushinado!” Everyone in Los Angeles gets a free sashimi meal, courtesy of climate chaos. A classically trained friend in the industry told me my idea was “nulla pretii,” which is colloquially translated, “of no commercial potential.”
A thought experiment I once heard required estimating how long the universe would last if everyone had the ability to destroy the universe with a thought. The correct answer involved the insight that every suicide is really trying to destroy the universe. So, since there’s a suicide every minute, the correct answer is “less than a minute.”
That thought experiment seems to be entering history by degrees. Now suicide bombers use rifles, machine guns, explosives-loaded vehicles, and even plain trucks to kill lots of people at once. The next step will likely be a “suitcase nuke” with a lot of dirty nuclear waste (plutonium) packed with powerful conventional explosives, set off in, say, Wall Street, contaminating the area for 100,000 years.
Note that I am scrupulously abstaining from any tasteless “feel the Bern” jokes or nearly as tasteless references to the Johnson/Weld Libertarian Party ticket, like “Feel the Johnson.” The image of Wall Street sterilized for eons deserves a little respect. If you want, you can spend the moment of silence calculating what compound interest will do to a dollar invested for 100,000 years.
Edmund Burke said, “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.” That’s troubling. It sounds like a license to jump ship when things go ill.
The Colonel's lady came across a word spelt “comaraderie” in a daily newspaper story and wondered whether it referred to the fellowship of those in a coma. Hmm. How about “commaraderie,” the fellowship of those in a slight pause. Or “cameraderie,” the fellowship of shutterbugs. For the record, the fellowship of comrades is spelt “camaraderie.” Don’t ask my why.
There’s a saying, “Sometimes circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” For decades I had wondered what a trout in the milk was strong circumstantial evidence of. Finally, the thought occurred to me that I could look it up. Hold onto your hat. Henry David Thoreau said it. In those days, people commonly bought milk in bulk from local dairymen. Unscrupulous dairymen watered the milk. They hadn’t modern water systems, and fresh water came mostly from freshwater lakes. So if you found a trout in your milk, it was strong circumstantial evidence that your dairyman was watering your milk, and pretty carelessly, too.
Zen P.S.: “As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color & fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.” --Buddha
Powerful circumstantial joke P.S.:
Q: What does a farmer say when he can’t find his tractor?
A: Where’s my tractor?
Trump with daughter Tiffany Hillary with daughter Chelsea