All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A U-Solve-It Enigma

I've never posted a U-Solve-it mystery before but find it presently unavoidable. It was perpetrated yesterday by wife, Norma, and photogenic accomplice, Darwin Doorbooger. It consists of 3 photos taken with her cell phone which --1st clue-- has no setting for selective focusing. And yet...
...there is Darwin in crystal clarity with soft-focus geraniums beyond.

I spent well over 30 years in high school (as student and gardener, what did you think? Oh how could you?) and am very well educated, yet I could only guess she'd coaxed Darwin indoors and onto a window, we have no geraniums blooming window height (second clue). 

Another photo:
These are not products of trick-photography --notice my fingers never leave my hands. Here is the closing photo and a final clue from the master of deductive reasoning, Sherlock Holmes:

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"--Arthur Conan Doyle. 
Hope you have as much fun with this puzzle as I did. Theories, comments, questions and opinions welcome!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Conundrum Of The Concrete Cat

There is, nearly invisible in our south stumpery, an abiding enigma --the Concrete Cat:
Concrete Cat came from Norma's parents' property, which she and her younger brother have been clearing and tidying. They found it under some ground-cover vegetation but don't remember having seen it before. Norma brought it here. I tried to help determine its origin but could only quote Shakespeare:
   "Lady, you bereft me of all words, only my
     blood speaks to you in my veins, and there
     is confusion in my powers." (Merchant of
     Venice; act 3, scene2).

Still, I cast my mind back over a half century, back when her family accepted me as suitor for their daughter and made me welcome. I  was often invited for meals (I shared an apartment with 3 hungry men and could not rely on our larder). I would have a beer with her father over a game of chess, and later climb the backyard tree with Norma and...nevermind, then play ping pong on an outdoor table with everybody. 

I am familiar with her dad's sculptural caricatures --animals with bulbous bodies, pebbles and marbles for eyes and collars-- and strongly suspect this is his work alone. He taught his kids how to make decorative stepping stones by this method, but those were larger, more substantial. Norma's had pebble peace symbols in them. I am proud to have both in my garden.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Rude Questions

I have always wondered at the about the enigma of rude questions. They are valued by tabloids but eschewed in the polite society that buys them. I decline to name the source of these inquiries but here's an example: What do you look like without makeup?  Like this:

What, is it noticeable?
Another rude question: Have you ever argued with an HOA, Draft Board or other authoritative committee? Yes, here's how it went (with help from two of the finest actors on Earth, Alfonso Bedoya and Humphrey Bogart): 

Third question: How far do you feel, ideologically, from the President of the United States?

I decline to comment on the current misadministration, but will compliment the January 21st, 2nd Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan --my political antipode except where he saw reason and allowed it to obtain. I met him personally 3 times while he was governor here, and he was just a real nice guy. On that day in 1985, he was building a future. I was building our barn.
 I'd say we were pretty much on the same page.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Dang-d-dang-dang, Nearly Plum Forgot!

Good grief, it's July 30th and I nearly let this month go by without mentioning its real commemorative importance. I guess all the explosions of the blasted 4th cancelled my real reverence for it. Then Norma staggered in with a reminder. A fraction of which is piled on our kitchen counter:
Yes, plums is one thing, but somehow it reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of music that was released by the Marcels in July of 1961. Possibly one of the finest examples of vocal synchronization ever produced --ever! (Marcels, Blue Moon)

I turned 12 that year and, like most kids that age, could fall in love even when nobody else was around. I still celebrate Blue Moon:
I hope you do too.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Why Does Hercules Always Look Like He Got Dressed In A Hurry?

One thing being another and what they are, I decided to repost  this old thing from 10 years ago under the title above. When I started this blog I hoped things would get better in the Middle East --on general principle and personal experience. 52 years ago I lived with 3 other guys at Palomar Apartments. We lived across the pool from 4 Lebanese students. We'd get together and play a kind of water polo with a volley ball. They were just as goofy as we were --the same except they had holes in them, stitched and healed over. We learned they had been made to operate machine guns at age 12 or so. They also said, "America, don't send troops into Middle East; you never get out!"

So, let us time travel:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Armed Religion

Last January, Israel's Welfare Minister, Isaac Herzog, said his country aimed to prevent an "over-dramatization" of facts by fanning out its diplomatic corps to all corners of the globe to explain why it needed to bomb the Gaza Strip into a different grade of gravel. It was heralded as a battle for public opinion. I doubted it would go well. "Over-dramatization" is hard to avoid in all situations that cannot be exaggerated.

I thought, world will listen to spin and reject it, because people are choosing a more enlightened path for themselves. People are miserable with spin. Matthew Arnold wrote, "He who finds himself loses his misery" , which is a start. Quote only isolates end result of a long process that begins with facing the truth about one's self and can be very miserable indeed. It's personal, you see.

On an individual level I can only comment as an older man who finds himself in the grocery store with other older men. We are all creeds and colors, but that is superfluous in two places: the beer aisle and the chip aisle. There we are just older men in profound meditation, a subculture apart, bound by experience in the belief we know better than to believe we know better.

We even have the same physique. This is not genetics, but conditioning. Our chief form of exercise is kicking ourselves and this develops the same muscle groups. It is also outward and visible evidence that we know how to have pasts.

Problem with Middle East is too much past. Whoever was there first has to deal with everybody else who was there first too. They have aligned this absurdity with the disposition of their immortal souls, which any old guy in a grocery store will tell you is just silly. Result is, you get deevolution to whatever mental age children spend most of their time running at each other.

In fairness to children, they possess joy. They feel what Virginia Woolf likened to bursting from the schoolhouse door on the last day of  term: "sudden joy". Later, we find joy in finding chips, plain chips with no fancy-shmancy seasoning and health stuff in them, and calling all the other old guys over."They're here, bottom shelf, found 'em!" Then, as one, we shuffle off to the beer aisle, strong, joyous, united and search for...well, everybody likes a different beer. I like stout, others prefer pilsner, lager or some excellent non-alcoholic brews. At that point freedom is best served by divided forces and we accept that. Why is it so much easier in a grocery store?

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Enigma: Getting All Religious

Every night, before bed...
...I go out to the garden lamp where Darwin Doorbooger  awaits supper on the switchbox. He hasn't grown much over the years --the great pillar at his nose is 1/2 inch electrical conduit conducting current to the light. He's  maybe 5/8ths-inch long now.

"Hi, Darwin."
"Hi, Geo., stay back a bit."
"There are bite-sized bugs, attracted to the lightbulb, that I really like."
"Sure thing, Darwin."
"What are you up to tonight, Geo.?"
"Well, it's 11 o'clock and I just captured a wolf-spider in a cup and card, then deposited him safely outdoors --where he can have a more rewarding life."
"I can't eat wolf-spiders. They're bigger than I am."
"That's not the point, Darwin, I did it so the spider could..."
"Nonsense, you did it because you humans think you must do God's work for Him!"
"Darwin, I could say I'm sorry you feel that way but one does not apologize to an insult."
"Oh it's just the hunger and the rattling I got from your recent holiday conducted with explosives."
" 'Sokay Darwin. I celebrated in peevish silence and checked all night for field fires. Our neighbors aren't all idiots but one's  all it takes."
"I know, Geo. I saw you (sniff). "
"Uh-huh. I love you too, Darwin."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Enigma of Dignified Things I Like

I like things. I like a lot of things I used to like because they caused me happiness in youth, but that was a long time ago and I'm supposed to be more discerning now. Take music, I am impressed by names of groups --they are personal to the members selecting them. My favorite?"Jimmy Eat World" .

Title was taken from crayola drawing Tom Linton's little brother, Ed, did of his other little brother, Jim, when they were children. I am a grape-big man now and cannot help liking the fun of permanent kid-expressions of teasing affection.

Then there's Grace. 12-year-old kid gets on an internationally televised show. Her costume is her playclothes. She has a little ukulele. When I was 12 (and unchanged at 69), carrying a tune was an awful burden for me. She stands before an audience of thousands, and a panel of judges with a song she composed. Listen:
Courage always impresses me. So do venues,like the one above and the one above that --the excellent video of a party that closes encouraging the rewards of peaceful and sincere individualism under hedonistic peer pressure. I have not tried to define what is honorable here, what is dignified --there is no simple definition, but I am working on it.