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Saturday, August 29, 2015

What To And NOT To Name The Baby

It is a fact of modern life that each generation names its babies according to trends. First noticed it in the 1960s when toddlers were introduced as Cloud and Tree. Not so bad. Then, in the '70s, I saw babies with t-shirts that read "Little Monster" across the chest --seemed unkind, but a name's a name. There's no consistency to this trend. In the '80s and '90s I could walk into a crowded room, call a trendy name and everybody under 20 would turn around and say "What?"

Now it is 2015 and I see titles identical to the one over this essay trying to standardize the practice. They appear on news sites and doubtless offer good counsel, but it is not enough. By the principle of nomenclature, we must consider the future into which children carry these burdens...and then what of their  children? Oh, it's too much. I must retire to the Pumphouse and meditate. Excuse me.

Pumphouse offered numerous suggestions for future trendy names. So far I favor this one:
It has some dignity to it and echoes a great love story --even though I believe the picture is not of Queen Victoria's beloved Albert. But Albert is a fine name and should be considered by all future parents. Some were less romantic...
WD could be a ready-made name for a corporate head. Questions? Run them past good old WD, the only administrator who gives you a straight answer, takes responsibility and sticks to sound principles! And yet, and wonders what happened to the other 39 WDs. There's rumors running 'round the company you know. About what?

Why, about WD's cohorts and toadies like...
WD sends Gunk after blockages in the system and, next day, they're gone. Production doesn't always increase but management smiles and winks a lot. It's scary. Don't name your kid WD or Gunk!

Pumphouse then suggested...

But Roach Bait has been pretty much out of work since pot got at least partially legalized and would be a poor name choice. However, Max Attrax strikes me as ready-made for a modeling career.

Rid-X is Pumphouse's second-to-last suggestion, one I consider a stretch of speculative futurity. Say, someday we are invaded and overrun by some unknown interplanetary mischief called X --by scientists, astronomers and algebra teachers. A dual enzyme action hero arises, Rid-X! --scourge of chunks plugging the substrates of our world's systems. It could happen...and if some forward-thinking parents name their kid Rid-X, the future is at least half saved already. But I'm most impressed by Pumphouse's closing recommendation:
This is a device I've only replaced three times in the past 35 years. It attaches to the holding tank and to the 220volt line that dives far into the planet to actuate our submersible pump. When the tank achieves a pressure of 45 psi, it shuts everything off. When pressure falls to 20 psi, it turns everything on again. It is one of the most reliable devices on earth. I rank it right up with my Saint Jude Cardiac Pacemaker, which also must be replaced every ten years. So, pursuant to my Pumphouse meditations, I would encourage young parents to name their kids Square D --or Saint Jude.

Ok, maybe Albert.

Note: All the fine products in this scholarly essay were trotted out and photoed by my webcam. No disparagement is intended. They are kept on reserve in our pumphouse because they actually work and often exceed the promises of their advertisements.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Greek Mythology One oh What?

Good morning, class. I am your sub. prof. this morning and will doubtless remember the other syllables of that title later in the day. Not a morning person. Who can tell me who Eos is? No one? I thought not. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Eos was the daughter of the Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia, sister of Helios, the sun god, and Selene, the moon goddess. How do we explain a birth from three mothers --some of them female? Well, it's very hard to explain, so I won't.

What's that? Textbook says what? Well, lucky for you this is an early-morning class and most of us aren't actually here --including me. Oh, you are a morning person? Perhaps you can share with the class what time the sun rose this morning? 6:30? Ha! I was a gardener for 35 years and happen to know there is no such time. No, really, that was my starting time and I was always late but nobody noticed. Please close your textbook. Shall we have our first slide please...
 This picture of the Pantheon includes three levels of deities: the Primordials, headed by Chaos; the Olympians --originally 12 in number, then less as the others thought Hephaestus might be a liver disease and so on until the great clash of the Titans; the Titans were defeated and relegated to lower status. Yes? Question about the slide? Well, this slide is meant to show the cyclic character of the universe. Question?

Good point. The cyclic nature under discussion is indeed suggested by the Zodiac. In fact, zōdiakos kyklos, meaning "circle of animals" is a Greek term. The theology from which it depends described nature as proceeding in cycles. Pardon? Yes, with a few exceptions like Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, life after the Pantheon was not considered cyclic but just one damn thing after another.

It appears we're running a bit late with all these questions, so I will dispense with your regular teacher's instructions to relate this material to theological disputes between revolutionary leader, Pancho Villa, and his gardener brother, Bougain. Lesson plan also requires you read the text chapter on the 1492 discovery of an  immense Atlantic navigational hazard between Spain and India. Your prof. has sent word he will return after recouping investment losses in the Saharan Ski Resort project, and will devote the remainder of his sanity to this class.   

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bead Again

"Hi Geo."
"Hello Bead, it's been a year since we last talked, hasn't it?"
"Almost, about eleven months. Whatcha makin'?"
"Bead, my hearing has deteriorated this past year. Are you asking about citizens of a Caribbean island nation -- lush topography, reef-lined beaches?"
"I mean, what are you doing with your little watercolor block and paintbrush?"
"Doodling your portrait, Bead. Lookee."
"Wow! I've changed a bit."
"You have. Compound eyes are squinting and your colors are muted. Still a fine-looking bee though."
"Aw thanks, Geo., you almost make me feel young again. What's that noise?"
"That's my wife calling me in for dinner."
"Figured it was something like that. Why do human women announce dinner as if it was an emergency?"
"Sometimes it is. But what brings on these questions? You seem more reflective now."
"That's because I'm retired, Geo. A human month equals about 10 bee-years, so I'm way past the century mark."
"Well, gosh! What does a retired bee do?"
"Ask Norma to bring her camera over and I'll show you."

                                     [Normavideo --Bee clip, 8-14-15 ]

"Bead, that's the same thing you always did."
"Yes, but now I gather pollen just for relaxation, like you still garden after doing it for a living."
"I understand. I did that 35 years."
"That's 42,000 bee-years, Geo. Different reward-system now. You get to enjoy sun-dappled shade under trees planted long long ago."

"That's the perfect time to plant trees, Bead."
"Silly human, go inside now. Your dinner is waiting. It's an emergency!"

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Sermon 11th Hour On Short Notice!

I want to express my joy at being your substitute minister here at the seaside retreat. Your regular pastor summoned me at short notice --what's that? 10 minutes ago actually-- and told me this is an interactive service, that my sermon would be subject to welcome comments from the congregation. Beyond that I know only that we are to divide into teams and play baseball later. I must ask you to speak distinctly because I have tinnitus and am hard of hearing, so...

Sorry, what? Eat what? Eat what raw? Oh yes, Yay team! Rah Rah Rah!

So I shall proceed with...what? Who do I think I am? I'm sorry, it's just this roar --like an ocean or something exacerbating my hearing problems-- oh? Oh really, I got it right? Well, I think I am a descendant of an old Portuguese athlete who was invited to this country long ago  to play professional baseball. What do I mean? No? Oh, what team? Well, he immigrated in the 1840s so there was only one team, if that many. I forget what it was called.

He played 7th base and was considered peerless. When he retired, 7th base --now called 2nd assistantshortstop-- and his jersey were retired with him. Eh? Yes they wore jerseys and a new one had to be made for his replacement  which is how New Jersey got its name. But now to my sermon which, I must say, was prepared at scant notice and suffers from brevity. Eh? Yes. Yay. Yay team! Let us now open our Bibles to Genesis 1:25-27 then Genesis 2:18-19 and discuss which came first.

Yes yes, I know. One comes before the other but I'm talking about whether animals were created before humans. It's a theological conundrum that bugs the heck out of some people. Animals are created, then the human, then animals are either created in duplicate or later or summoned to parade before Adam to see what he calls them. Now I don't know whom I'm subbing for but hope to end the controversy on this sunny beach. What? No, I said beach and it is not my progenitress.

You'd have to be writing copy pretty early on to make the press deadline for Genesis. The world --with the exception of Arizona and Utah, which could use topsoil-- had only just got finished. In written language, understandably, there were present and future tenses. Nobody was nervous about past tense because there wasn't any past yet, hence the ambiguity of the two chapters. Other explanation is humankind numbers among the animals. You're welcome to consider either or both solutions to the enigma.
However, I will caution whatever church I'm addressing with this advice from a gardener of profound experience: We were created only as stewards to the planet, and if you can't cram your religion down other peoples' throats, it's probably useless to switch to suppositories. Now go have fun on the Whazzat? Go to how? Oh, thanks, you go do well too!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mrs. God

Having only once started a sentence with the word, Ishtar, I'll try it again here. Ishtar was the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of love, war, sex --a celestial yard-duty lady. She was the counterpart to the north-west Semitic goddess Astarte and cognate Asherah who, according to the Book Of Kings, was once worshipped beside Yahweh in Israel. Amulets and figurines unearthed in ancient Ugarit (see Syria) identify Asherah as a powerful goddess who articulated the universal language of Nature. Asherah's connection to Yahweh is spelled out in both the Bible and 3000-year-old inscribed pottery found in the Sinai desert. She was Nature and espoused to the Universe: Mrs. God.

Then came prophet Jeremiah who aimed Jeremiads at her, and Gideon (see Judges 6:27, 28 --21st cent. King James Bible) and Josiah (see 2nd Kings 23:14) who took exception and axes to her. Asherah was mainly edited out of Judaism, Christianity and Islam --understandable given the political climate of the past 3000 years. Nomography, the drafting of laws, grew into an art form, so did punishments. The world forgot the simple and conscientious yard-duty of Mrs. God ( "Butt on the bench until you learn to behave!" She'd say.). Things got complicated and stayed that way, which is what you may expect of a world that grows up ignoring its mama.

            [5 second Mother Nature Clip]

 This brings us to the holographic universe. What is that? It means the whole is accessible from any given point in space and time. Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin --Saint Thérèse of Lisieux -- who was a very smart girl, reliably intuited the following: "Each small part of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe." It means we are in this together; that we cover the same phenomenon from different times and angles; that there's no other way to experience a holographic universe; we are united in continuum --a team.

Even in the eternal and infinitely divisible moment that is the universe, there are those who cannot appreciate what Mother Nature advises. She speaks through us too, though we don't always  like what she says.  Maybe we grew up wrong,  couldn't expel blockages to open hearts and minds, endured childhoods inappropriate for adult recital. P.E. coaches say there is no "i" in "team". There's a rather important one in recital --which, when absent, indicates the anatomical area we must place on the bench until we learn to behave.