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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Spirit of the Wavin' Man

For me, it began in 1958. We were moving out of the farming settlement on Garcia Bend, headed east past Florin. There was an old men's home, weathered red brick, with a weathered old man on a bench out front. His name was Pete, and he directed traffic at the 4-way stop. When he wasn't directing traffic, he just waved at everybody.

35 years later, I passed the same intersection. The old men's home was long since razed for other development, but there was a younger, muscular man in spandex who jogged along my predawn route to work. He would stop jogging frequently to dance on the sidewalk and wave to morning traffic as part of his routine.

In the early '90s, there was again an old man who sat in morning light upon his own lawn and waved to all the cars passing Carlson Drive. I had not encountered this spirit again until this afternoon. Driving home from the pharmacy with my prescription --and a bottle of Cabernet (I cannot imagine why my health insurance does not cover Cabernet, as I could save 50% or more with a simple copay)-- I found myself stopped at a red light along with 12 other lanes at a 4-way intersection. Usually, I can see when one or another lane goes green and reckon my own signal but they were all stopped. That meant somebody needed to walk across the road. It was this guy:

He had such a happy smile, and I was in no hurry. He waved to each car, made gentle eye-contact to each driver, I just started to feel better and better. Then I waved back and thought "Wavin' Man, is it you?" I didn't have a camera --probably wouldn't be appropriate anyway-- but I doodled him soon as I got home. Wavin' Man is a spirit that guides, has guided, good souls all my life. How does it assume possession? How does it sustain itself in these contentious times? How does it seem to appear when most needed?
It is an enigma. Amid the myriad distractions of modern times, it appears, it appears.

I could do worse than end up a Wavin' Man.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quite a Three-pipe Problem

When faced with a problem and a paucity of evidence or clues, Sherlock Holmes would compose himself in thought and ask not to be interrupted.  In Conan Doyle's story, The Red-headed League, the excellent Sidney Paget portrayed him thus:

In my previous post, I described a puzzle confined to my own computer which required considerable ratiocination. Things returned to normal, mainly, until Wednesday --I got a header message where my GFC gadget should be:
I checked my repairs, discards and uninstallments of the 22nd and found all ok then  went to Google Forum and found others reporting the same "502 Error" from all parts of the world. Had I broken the Internet (on a Sunday)?Here is a short excerpt from the forum:
Oct 25
Add a reply
I have problem with Followers gadget. I have this gadget at my website more than two years. Everything was perfect. But at now it is show me Error 502 since morning.  Many peoples have this error, please solve it :) How can I fix it?

I said:

Problem is back! Are we having some further difficulties?

Ivana Mihalić said:

Still not working... Does anybody even care? I knew I should've chose Wordpress over this.

; I took this snippet from my own email, to which I had the discussion transferred mid-week. In that version, the word "Collapsed" meant something else besides syncope --at least in my case. Still, it might be prudent to find a trusted observer and, after typing a complaint to Google, asking if you are or are not conscious. Norma was often undecided --but mostly said I was (one or the other, I forget). Here is the whole forum text thus far, clickable.

So, I have emerged from my own nicotinic meditations --curled up in my chair in the pumphouse (Norma is not so tolerant as Watson) with several observations from the Doyle canon which approximate my own:
               "These are in deep waters...deep and rather dirty."
               "There is nothing more deceptive than the obvious fact."
               "The only important thing that has happened in the past 
                   three days is nothing has happened."

The conclusion is inescapable. This is the work of the Napoleon of Crime: Moriarty has returned!  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Sermon

As your substitute pastor this evening, I must apologize  for not showing up earlier but I was busy, busy and frustrated with my computer. Then I got mad --anybody'd get mad. Here's what happened:
I took pencil outdoors and doodled a bird  perched on our west fence, then  brought my notebook indoors and tried to photo it with this laptop's webcam. Never had any trouble doing that before. Did this time. I got a message from the screen saying another system was interfering with my efforts. I pondered and surveyed, then noticed a symbol in the lower-screen task bar that wasn't here before my last Windows update. It was a weird little "eye"-thing that was labeled "YouCam". I clicked on it and it wanted money in exchange for a lot of special effects that I was uncertain about. So I tried to tell it "No" but it ignored me and wanted money. No figure was mentioned, but I had a divine hunch it would be substantial. I wanted to slap the offender, but then recalled the words of Saint Mark.

Whatever you click on a suspicious site --even if it was installed by Windows, Frontier or Hewlett Packard-- will get you deeper into its nefarious negotiations, and greater resistance will just mess you up more. Saint Mark --not the Biblical one but the American one, Mark Twain, said "Never slap a man who is chewing tobacco." So I got devious.

I got into my files and found the offender, an apparently empty folder marked YouCam, and deleted it. Then I went to my task bar and deleted it from that too. No violence, no anger, just the reestablishment of a Geodoodled bird on this post. I forget what I was going to have the bird say, but he did dictate a bit about religion that might apply to this sermon: "Remember, human, if you don't believe in God, He's also demonstrated severe reservations about you."

Go in peace, please. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Blooms, The Poet's Wife, Vortex and I Believe We Have a Dance

Let's begin with a chrysanthemum, planted in the dooryard by Norma, describing a gentle vortical articulation of autumn. Seasonal colors and light 

are predicted in its bloom. And another, a rose, a new addition she selected recently while out with Christina, who I met 50 years ago and agreed to accept as my sister by mutual adoption. Norma chose her rose:
Neither horticultural effect fully prepared me for what happened next. I looked down at the gravel walkway and was immediately dizzied:
"Good heavens!" I exclaimed, "This defies the law of nature!"

A calm female voice replied, "Why do you think that?

I stammered, "I...I was a child. I sneaked and  sampled wine from barrels in my grandparents' walkout basement and saw something like this on the ground."

"Aw mal Nino, all law, even the the law of nature, is hard as diamond until something strikes a stress-point and it goes to pieces."

"But to what purpose?" I asked, and heard tinkling laughter, the tintinnabulation of tiny bells.

"I am Earth, Geo., I am Gaia, an expression of the universe. I can only display beauty in tolerable amounts."

"Please, Gaia, please tell me more," I said. To which she answered: 
   "Oh, I'm done talking about it. Let's Dance! 
     Just dance."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Those We Love

I love birds, and those we love we want loved always. We look into the morning sky and marvel at sunrise. The sun rises over all life. We are Earthlings; we share a star --a Star!  I hear the first bird of the day as I pass the ivy trellis. It says, "Cheap!"

 I hear it again, "Cheap!" I stop.

"Hey," I say. "Who you callin' cheap?"

"You, human. You've got money --I heard you discussing "dollars" with your wife. Dollars is money, right?"


"Well, us birds have seen you spraying dishsoap on eggplants. According to my instincts, dishsoap is harmful to hornworms, mites, aphids, cutworms, lacebugs and flea beetles. Those are among our favorite foods. We wonder what's so special about eggplant that you'd spend dollars to run these delicacies  off the property?"

"Well, Norma likes eggplant and the bugs take over if we don't spray soap."

"Does every human like eggplant?"

"Dear bird, admittedly many don't --I don't, but she does. You see, most grown people don't mind eggplant but it nearly always makes children cry."
"What about you, human?"

"I eat it to be polite but then repair to another room to sob softly in private."

"Ok, here's my deal:  You just spray water on the eggplant and we birds will handle the pests. You take dollars to the market and buy eggplants for Norma. Win-win?"

"Brilliant solution, bird! How'd you come up with it?"

"We think simply and fundamentally, educated by instinct, form, appetite and our parents' example. How did you learn things?"

"Well, I went to school until I was upwards of 20 years old."

"Then what?" Asked bird as he hopped down to hunt bugs.

"Then I ventured away from curriculum..."

"What's that?"

"It's what they teach us humans in school about our place in the world."

"Sounds intriguing. How did you feel when you got out?"

"Bird, oh bird, to my horror I found out I was an idiot!"

"Join the club, human, but remember to go easy on the bugs."

Friday, September 29, 2017

Then X 3

This is both a partial repost and reiteration of an autumn post from two years ago (clickable here) which I trotted out because tomorrow is Sunday, the last day of September and the eve of my favorite month, October.  Two of my sons were born in September, so this is a favorite month too --but it's hot (they grew up and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where it's cool). I have combined these sentiments in this post, as well as added photos and a song (yes, I got the Ian And Sylvia album the month it came out). After all, or before all, the past belongs to those hindsightful enough to prepare for it. Let us proceed:

Then, Then It Will Be Autumn

To the California gardener, autumn means topiary lasts longer because shrubs begin to behave. To the retired gardener, it means excellent Cabernet from Lodi --25 miles from here-- to be opened in the afternoon as October fills the kitchen window. The photo below shows a specimen doing just that. It is a bit blurry because he doesn't have his glasses on. 

Our specimen will take his glass of wine and repair to the back porch.

And there, he will listen to one of his favorite songs, to a couple who sang to a world.  They compose a voice of autumn from the heart.
And yes, mais oui, in the back porch he will doodle...
Ian and Sylvia, "Mister Spoons"
....doodle the waking of the dinosaurs, which always happens in the fall.

Then, then it will be autumn! And it doesn't matter how many years have gone by, how many decades they've lived in their cities and made good lives, when my evolved progenies visit there is news, lovely silence and reverie --the memories all come back.
Then, then, then it is autumn.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Two Songs On The Trainride To Peace

When I first heard Elly Stone sing Jacques Brel's "Marieke" so long ago, I knew I'd encountered an enigma. I was quite young and could only make out bits of Dutch, French and English but later, after I saw this clip from "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris",[ I realized she had adapted the song to lament the loss of her childhood self, or a child, or a generation --in Flanders Fields?-- I don't know but would appreciate ideas from readers].

Elly Stone sings "Marieke"

Song 2 is one that still chokes me up a little. I was watching tv in 1969 because one of my favorite humorists, Moms Mabley, was a guest on the Griffin show. I had never heard her sing, maybe because her voice was calculated for comedy, but I heard her that night and never forgot --never will forget. I met Martin Luther King Jr. a few months before his death. Attended a welcome rally for Bobby Kennedy a month before his death. I listened to this Dick Holler song, which I'd heard on A.M. radio sung by the excellent Dion DiMucci, but it never hit home so hard until I saw this:

Moms Mabley, "Abraham, Martin, John and Bobby"

I can't add anything to these performances, only that they helped deliver us from chaos. Peace is an individual adjustment. You have to do it by yourself. Then you have to be stronger than those who prejudge others, who settle hurt upon them. Peace comes from saying, "Well, the world's gone a bit funny on me --maybe I should inquire politely what the problem is, and see what can solve it. Blasting away in all directions at populations who are nobody's enemy is certainly not the solution.  PEACE.

Addendum: Mainly in response to Louise's very interesting comments on this post, and hopefully for the encouragement of all who read it, who may think of it while browsing a book store or perusing the internet, I asked Norma to Normaphoto a corner of our kitchen shelves --mostly reference works kept at my right hand here in the heart of the house: