All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Interview A Non-Existent Man

This was supposed to be a Sunday Sermon but I didn't start early enough. I dillydallied and reflected on the time --35 years ago-- I had to climb a flight of steps to the high pulpit of the First Baptist Church and read a poem at a dear friend's wedding. This experience combined glossophobia (stage fright) with acrophobia (fear of heights) and, although I managed the assignment, I discovered a third disinclination, kamia-kathari-kirygma-phobia (fear of preaching without a net). So now I'm resigned to sitting solidly on a steel chair and interviewing the person I never became, who is sitting in the other one.

I:  So, what do you believe is the main difference between us?

He: Beyond the fact that you exist and I don't?

I:  Yes, since you are...what is the polite term?

He: Commentitious. But since we are, in broad terms, each other I would not be offended if you called me imaginary.

I:  And yet, we share a great deal of early background.

He: Yes! In fact, if you were as crazy as your siblings and childhood friends said you were, you would have led a more interesting life.

I:  But they were wrong, or at least pleasantly incorrect...mainly.

He: Well of course, but you see most people are. Consider the reception and distortion of this quote from the candidate's debate some time back:
I:  I see, a fellow makes a perfectly coherent statement and it is coined into absurdity. Does that happen to you?

He: No, because one might with some effort imagine an absurdity. I am imaginary, therefore already an assembly of all possibilities. I cannot be undone by public misconstruction. We did not vote for Romney. You, however, did not become a minister because of Andre Malreaux, who wrote: "Neither the believer nor the atheist is completely satisfied with appearances."

I:  True, I found myself incapable of the leap of faith required in either direction. But as I gain in years, I admit there would be some comfort in life after death.

He: I know, I know. I am, after all, you. So forgive me my philosophical reminder that if there is life after death, we have not adequately defined either state.

I: A classifiable enigma, then.

He: Indeed. However, as your commentitious self, your imaginary self, I have made great successes in the clergy, in arts and sciences, in all human endeavors and can reduce our discussion to this: what did you become, Geo.?

I:  That's simple. I became a gardener, like I always do.

He: Me too, Geo. Me too.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Human Whisperer

Earlier this week, I visited a home in which animals live. I met Clyde. Clyde is a Basset --derived from the French word bas, meaning "low" and the attenuating suffix -et, together meaning "rather low".  They are an improbable breed, designed originally as self-moving, six-legged benches but, at some crucial point, became too intelligent to allow themselves to be further modified.

Bassets were quite content to be "rather low" because it minimized injury. On level ground, they cannot trip and fall beyond the length of their legs, about three inches, and they were pleased with this. However, if breeders succeeded in growing them a third set of legs in the middle, there would be no turning back from evolution into benches. So they put a stop to it. We must now examine their brains.

Bassets have square --cuboid-- brains where humans have round --roughly spherical-- brains. Observe:
The trajectory of a human thought follows an arc. If it meets with no obstacles, a human thought will fly out and along the curvature of its round brain and orbit indefinitely. Basset thoughts, on the other hand, bank off the planes and corners of square brains and repeatedly recross the center of attention. In those rare moments when Bassets become confused, they simply collect and rack up their thoughts for a new break --much like billiards-- hence their phenomenal powers of concentration. They used this intellectual advantage to subtly convince humans that Bassets would be better rabbit-catchers than benches --an idea which, if you consider their general construction, is just silly.

In the photo, Clyde is whispering something to me. I don't recall it exactly but it had to do with "Kitchen...doggie bag, top shelf...the really stinky ones." My impressions, beyond DOGGIE TREATS, are foggy from that point but a short while later my memory resumes and Clyde was in possession of them.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Sermon

Pictured above is a typical street in the village of Monsanto. It is in Portugal, which my grandparents referred to as, "Aw yezzz, the OLD COUNTRY, aw years agoooo." It is made of granite blocks. You may notice not all the blocks are the same size. Some are radically bigger than others. You might end up with a couple that are several times larger than your whole house. Those go onto the roof and it outlasts your neighbors' clay shingles by millions of years. Is this optimism? No, reality. Sometimes it is better to be masterful and not worry about details. Why is Monsanto made of rock?

There are two reasons. Construction of the town began in the stone age. The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make everything. The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 6000 BCE and 2000 BCE .  6000 BCE gets us into Biblical times and I can't comment on that except for metal things being made out of refined rocks. Big deal, still minerals, but they began an ascent toward industrial society that would threaten to deplete earth's natural resources in a mere 8 or 9 thousand years. Not so with the Stone-agers.

Stone-agers went 3.4 million years being very careful not to use up all the rocks. There are still rocks all over the place. I looked!
Norma spread them by way of weed-abatement, just like Stone-agers did. Though there are some jobs, like clearing our fencelines of noxious vegetation that I cannot control with stone, I use a chemical herbicide and am ashamed. If my house was made of non combustible rock instead of wood --yes, wood from trees which are also made of wood since the stone age ended-- I wouldn't have to bother with firebreaks at the property edge, but there is some solace.

Keeping one's property intact while surrounding fields combine impulsively with oxygen drives one to compromise. We fear fire --one of the many disturbances to which humanity subjects itself. So I sneak out to our parameters with a product called Roundup® , without Norma's permission, and fight the field back a few feet. Yes, it is against my stone age Portuguese heritage but I must keep the property safe so that Norma may hear the seasonal pops of poppies and the howl of mating marigolds. And, of course, I have read the label and made sure Roundup® is made by the Monsanto Company.

Go in peace.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gardener's Block vs. Writer's Block

I begin with a corner of Norma's kitchen counter. It is arranged according to tremendous operations in the universe. I am not to fiddle with it. I built the counter, the shelves over, the walls around, many years ago. But now I am only a disruption if I move something to get at something. It is progress.

My ancestors were seagoing people who adjusted grudgingly to progress, like advancement from thole pins to oarlocks. I do too. Consider alarm clocks. Why are they called that? You have to work. Work is hard. People who control work start it early. Everything that happens in the morning is alarming, hence the name of the clocks.

So I retired, five years ago. I called in: "Hello Work? You can't fool me. The world at 6 a.m. is an enigma made terrible by your mad determination to give it underlying meaning and truth." They didn't say anything.

What could anybody say (besides Bush who strangely got it right, very strangely)? You watch the early edition news and see even the politicians had been left outside all night. Why? To perpetuate the illusion that 6 a.m. really existed when, in fact, there is no such hour. Some (almost as strangely) might say:

But I vehemently adhere to my premise here, whatever it is. Oh yes, it is this: One may be a gardener and have blocks --in this case paving blocks

-- and there is an effect, caused by moss over mortar, that does not impede the underlying meaning and truth of gardening, or incite mad determination toward either. Plant life seeks organization even among blocks, but writer's block impels one, this one, toward overreaching fragile vases to get at the Pellegrino and knocking things over.

So how does a gardener of maritime lineage know whether his post is product of Gardener's or Writer's Block? He doesn't. He waits for that soft, subtle voice to reach him, not from within but from without. It says, "Ok, you can stop now."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Anonymous Enigma, Solved!

My special guest, who kindly agreed to discuss his work and community, needs little in the way of introduction. Few people are quite so immediately recognizable as Anonymous.

Geo.:  Thanks for dropping by!

Anon.: My pleasure.

Geo.:  First off, I want you to know I will respect your anonymity by not using your name.

Anon.: Thoughtful of you but awkward and unnecessary. My name really is Anonymous.

Geo.: And how did you come by that name?

Anon.: My parents. Everybody in my country is named Anonymous --a custom introduced long ago by one of our preeminent educators to simplify classroom roll-call.

Geo.: But I thought Anonymous was a worldwide pseudonym. Where exactly is your country?

Anon.: That will need explaining. You must understand, we are two-dimensional beings. Look at me and tell me what you see.

Geo.: A sort of silhouette.

Anon.: Exactly, a form of inexpensive portraiture named after a frugal French finance minister, Étienne de Silhouette, a great hero. There are many silhouettes honoring Silhouette in our country because there is no other practical representation for two-dimensional people. You see a freestanding shadow. Watch what happens when I turn sideways.
 Geo.: Good heavens! You disappeared!

Anon.: Right! Now I face you again...

Geo.:  You're back!

Anon.: Turn sideways, gone! Frontways, I'm back. Gone. Back. Gone. Back...

Geo.: Stop it!

Anon.: Hee hee! Sorry. I'd like you to meet my wife. Dear, turn frontways.
Mrs. Anon.:  Hi! Call me Ann. I'm going to explain where our country is. You know, when you look at an atlas or a globe you see all these states, provinces, counties, nations divided up into thousands of shapes all over the world. They are separated by borders which, on maps, are represented by lines. We live in those lines, Geo. That's where we work and play. That's where we sleep in sheepskin binders, in a net caressing Earth. That is our country.

Geo.: And this "work", please tell me about it.

Ann:  For a long time we posed for artwork on municipal signs. Here's a print of our family visiting our daughter's --or maybe it's our son's-- grampa...or gramma. Recognize anyone?
Geo.: It does possess a strange familiarity. But you mention it in past tense. There is a new industry then?

Anon.: Oh yes, as Ann says, we were already citizens of a world-encompassing net, so it was with great enthusiasm we greeted the electronic "Internet" created by you 3-d people. We felt it was made just for us. So we learned how to sell and advertise, influence and coerce people into buying all kinds of stuff. We live on commission now. Never been more prosperous! 

Geo.: Ah, that's about all we have time for. Any closing items?

Anon.: Well, we shouldn't leave without playing our country's National Anthem.

Geo.: I'll see if I can bring it up on the internet.

Ann:  Oh, don't trouble yourself, Geo. Our boy, or maybe it's a girl (Andie?Amos?), anyway the kid already got into your laptop and has it ready --a great interpretation by the incomparable John C. Reilly. All rise!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conversation With Anonymous #1, A Repost

Before adjusting comment settings to admit only real people, I used to get all sorts of interesting messages from Anonymous. Anonymous was ubiquitous and busy hacking into stuff at the time and I was a little afraid of offending them, so I tried to be nice

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"We, Anonymous, just happen to be a group of people on the internet who outlet to do as we wish, that we wouldn't be able to do in regular society. We are doing it for the lulz (the joy of disrupting).'"
—Trent Peacock. The face of Anonymous, February 7, 2008.

The picture above is of a culture of moss found growing on a rail, here on this property, and I include it because it is the only subject upon which Anonymous has not yet ventured an opinion. This post deals with the general enigma of highly motivated personalities, compelled toward activism, who explain themselves at length but are not about to reveal themselves. They are rather like the moss in propagation, ubiquity and invisibly microscopic origin. Over a period of several months I assembled a dialog with Anonymous drawn from their frequent comments on my three blogs. Here is a very small sample:

Anonymous: " Depois de apenas postando apenas alguns links eu ganhei cerca de 100 mais vistas, e elas continuam chegando. Melhor do que eu recebi mais comentários de pessoas fora da comunidade Triond. Vimax, Vimax. VigRX Plus."

Geo.: Thanks for your comment on "Gooseboys In Mist" --a poem in "Gardening With Geo." I am happy you have 100 times the traffic on your unnamed site, if that's what you wanted, but I have written poetry  over 50 years and learned this: HARDLY ANYBODY READS POETRY. I don't write it because lots of people read it. I write it because it's what I do. Hope you don't mind my disarming your clickable blue product list --Triond. Vimax, Vimax and VigRX Plus-- as you seem to have neglected to do. It is my sincere hope they help you with your love life, but do see a urologist.

Anonymous: "Planujac aranzacje pomieszczenia w meble dla dzieci trzeba skupic uwage na kilka waznych rzeczy, ktore wynikna w przyszlosci w zwiazku z dojrzewaniem naszej pociechy...Przede wszystkim meble dzieciece powinny byc calkowicie bezpieczne. Budowa takich sprzetow powinna byc porzadna."

Geo.: Excuse my radical abridgement of your comment; I couldn't understand how Polish children could need reliable furniture for the dozen reasons you set out. The solution is self-evident. Build better desks. And how'd you get to Poland so quickly? I thought you were somewhere Portuguese-speaking. However, I do commend your insistence upon "decent construction", especially after your first comment which left some outstanding moral questions.

Anonymous: "Do you feel that Syria (is) spying on dissidents?"

Geo.: My dear boy, or girl, every country I've ever heard of spies on its dissidents and, although I know of no reason why they should, I also know of no reason why they should not. So of course they are! I do fail to see how your comment bears on the poem "Athanor" in "Invalid's Workshop", which really falls outside the parameters of this problem. However, I commend and thank you for writing in English this time --and yet, and yet, I feel a growing sense of anxiety from our correspondence.

Anonymous: "Most affordable and most powerful service for web traffic!!!! ...Your post will be published up to 100000 forums worldwide your blog will get instant increase in rankings just after few days your site will get targeted long term traffic from search engines. Order now!"

Geo.: Thanks for your timely and sympathetic reply! I feel better already, but somehow doubt the miracle you outline, my poetry skittering off in 100,000 directions at once --energetically, like a spilled truckload of apples-- is feasible, nor would it draw much reward if it did fease. Your recovery from stress over love, Polish furniture and Syrian surveillance is reward enough for me. Best of luck, Anonymous, in your many creative ventures. I recommend, if you wish to further your excellent cause, that you reveal at least three letters of your name. That's what I did and employment was easier to find.

Sincerely, Geo.