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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Good Old Grinnin' Gruntin' Other News

What is election anyway, hah? In its closing month, it  is mostly reflection --two surprisingly similar words that probably don't mean each other, but if they do, what then, eh? Then we have Other News.

What is reflection? Here is a thought experiment to help take our minds off the election: If we position two mirrors facing each other, they reflect mutually --toward infinity, limited only by surface imperfections and differences of angle which become more pronounced farther into the experiment. Or is that election?  Maybe I need a photo here.
Above is the rear end of our 1971 VW Bus. The little door, top-hinged to conk one's gonk, covers the engine compartment. The battery, which weighs 35-40 pounds, is situated impossibly inside, just ahead of the right tail light. This is doubtless the cruelest spot EVER to put a battery in a vehicle. I changed it out for a new one yesterday --as I've done many times but I'm old now. Had to bend over double with my head in there and got all banged up. I now feel lousy.

Hmmm.

In other, yet other Other News, the Harlem Globetrotters signed up Pope Francis as a team member last year and gave him a jersey  but I doubt they'll play him much. He's older than I am and would get all banged up too. I've got to reach further back...

In the mid-1960s, I wanted to hone my interpretive reading/public speaking skills and signed up with the Sacramento Valley Forensic League. To train ourselves not to break up during competitions, one method was to recite this bit of Rudyard Kipling's poem, Gunga Din, while adding our own adjectives and keeping straight faces as long as we could:
"I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
An’ the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din."

Of course, we learned to recite it through such augmentations as grinnin', gruntin', fartin', belchin', stinkin', droolin', shittin' but when someone wrote in Kiplin' , it generally got a confused pause --and laughter. We were ready. Election months are full of trial, honors, confusions, opportunities to break up, disappointments and triumphs. You be ready too.
  

29 comments:

  1. We seem to be stuck in election mode on this side of the world too.
    The Federal election is over, (though the recrimminations continue).
    Now we have a local election.
    I wish someone would remove one of the mirrors. Elections in perpetuity are a foretaste of hell.

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    1. Hopefully, dear EC, there is enough calm inquiry in existence and joy to put us no farther than the foretaste of hell. Our idiot mayor has turned the capital of California into a traffic-gridlocked sports arena but I still cling to hope. You hope too, deal?

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    2. Deal. Hope, laugh, and revel in beauty.

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  2. This election cycle makes me wonder if we are not somehow trapped in a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

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    1. Tom, I'm not convinced the excitement conveyed in Master Bosch's triptych is as rapid as the "Garden Of Earthly Delights" implies, but in the fullness of time, believe it comes close. Let's do all we can to slow it into something manageable.

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  3. I too will be happy when the election is over and I am a political animal. May I be crude for a moment? Your VW's droppings are the prettiest yellow.

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    1. I believe those are new dandelions, Emma, but I wouldn't rule out VW droppings. Our lovely old bus has a supernatural sense of ecological belonging.

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  4. One thing worse than all this electioneering on both sides of the pond is not having a chance to take part. Being disenfranchised can be very annoying. On the other hand, I'd rather be in an environment where genuine elections take place, rather than where phoney elections or diktats are the rule.

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    1. Tom, after 8 years of W. Bush's kakistocracy, I welcomed the Obama administration and have no desire to see his improvements defeated by Trump. Mrs. Clinton still seems to believe in government by discussion so there's hope.

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  5. On the other side of your border we Canadians are watching your election proceedings. After much inspection and reflection and possibly a bit of detection we feel great dejection over the possible outcome of this election. Methinks it could use an injection of common sense, a rejection of all candidates and a fresh start.

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    1. Delores, I agree entirely. But we've only been at this independence thing 240 years --given time, I'm confident we'll get good at it.

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  6. An old VW bus always makes me smile and with this election going on, more smiling is needed. Occasionally, I see one around here, but when I visit Santa Cruz, it is a goldmine of VWs and lots of smiling faces.

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    1. Arleen, like many icons of '60s counterculture, keeping old VW's running looks like more fun than it really is, but for the record my smile is genuine.

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  7. Ready? You betcha' little beaver. Passport is up to date, will outlast me. Truck is usually gassed up, and the Montana/Canada border is long, with many more dirt roads that cross it than the paved highway, few with border stations. Always better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, eh? From there, the world is my oyster. Vancouver to Heathrow, thence to Lisboa and a small flat by the broad river. Coffee in the morning, a copy of the IHT, naps and seafood dinners.
    Yup, I'm ready.
    Oh yeah, I need a renter. Know anyone who doesn't mind shoveling snow 6 plus months of the year?
    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. 6 months, Mike? Sounds inviting but after the first week they'd be shoveling the snow off me. There's a reason my Portuguese ancestors came to California. You've got a great adventure planned there though!

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  8. Any distraction I can get is welcome.
    x

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    1. Laura, if my scholarly essays furnish comic relief right now, I am honored. They can serve no better purpose.

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  9. I loved this one very much, Geo.!
    The American election baffles me - but then: politics, wherever you look, are very strangely presented nowadays... the world and its manners and morals are changing very much - my parents would have been shocked very much by the language that is used now - or: a French president sneaking to one of his mistresses on a motorbike - the German Ferderal president, a pastor(!) representing the State with his mistress by his side, while his wife sits at home, etc, etc... and those topics...
    I do not believe that it was "better" in 'the olden days' - but we didn't got it served on a silver platter - nay: a MacDonald paper tray.

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    1. Dear Brigitta, I must agree. The silver platter was kept polished and gleamed with dignity and tradition; the modern paper tray is kept incidental and disposable. I have overstretched the metaphor here but hope, excusably, expressed my dismay at the decline of political presentation.

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  10. Maybe it's time to add another a few more mirrors to our current design. We can only reflect so long on the infinite nature of two.

    Thanks for the fun post, dude. We can all use some grin-worthy news. (I particularly relished the image of the pope playing basketball with the Globetrotters. Maybe he'd toss holy confetti from the bucket?)

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    1. I believe the Globetrotters have put several Popes in their lineup over the years. They're great ambassadors.

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  11. I am ready. I've never been more ready. Almost no reflection needed. The straight face part, though, is it necessary, do you think? Because I think I'll be grinnin'. Hopefully that's all.

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    1. Thanks,Chicken. I think there's readiness all 'round for this election to reach a positive conclusion.

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  12. Thanks for your attempt to take our mind off the election--I remember working on a VW van--the memories aren't pleasant

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    1. You're welcome, Sage. The road most traveled by old VW's is paved with good intentions.

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  13. I'm not really following the U.S. election much, beyond what makes the headlines in Canada. It just seems so much like banging one's head against a brick wall; maybe there's the good part, it feels so much better when one stops. However, I did enjoy your post and also the comment about the dandelions :)

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    1. O Jenny, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Your simile is quite accurate. If my country can't learn to understand its place in the world, it will shrink to a mere peevish bulge in the Canada/Mexico border.

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  14. I had a '72 bus that was a dream. Except if anything went wrong which it did once in a while. The taillights were bigger which helped keep people from rear-ending me.

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    1. Welcome, Jono! The old buses do indeed need attention now and then. Ours served well through my years as a gardener. Still gets used to haul stuff sometimes. It has always felt like an extra room of the house that could go places.
      .

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