I was cutting the ends of green string beans today getting ready for a dinner party of eight. They reminded me of the great venture of my parents who moved to BC from the small prairie town they lived in where my dad was the station agent. The rules of the railroad were that transfer to a new province meant a complete loss of seniority for three months so he had to take the bottom of the barrel. They had a family of three boys with them and little money or income so they lived in a comfortable barn in Chilliwack on friends property and he bicycled to work at Port Mann at 5 am. My mother and my brother Ken worked on the bean belt sorting beans all day. The month that he arrived he was short before payday and he phoned me where I was working in Rupert on my summer job to see if I could send him fifteen dollars. I didn't have any idea how to do it. That day he rode his bicycle back to Chilliwack to wait for mother and Ken to finish on the bean belt. He sat by the door where they worked on a large empty oil can he found, to wait. The boss of the bean belts found him there sitting relaxing in the sun and said to him, "Fellow, you are fired. Go and pick up your time and don't come back." My dad said to him, "I'm not working here." He said, "Fellow I already told you that." It wasn't that easy coming to British Columbia.
Someone should stick a firecracker up Robert Mueller's ass to hurry him up because his country is going down the drain fast and circling around it with ever increasing speed. The hinge of fate is becoming thinner and thinner as Mr. Mueller deliberates and the country is dangling on that thin hinge.They have too many bloody lawyers in that country who mistake casuistry for truth and equivocate endlessly, each spinning on a dime. They seem to have conflated legality now with moral and ethical so the latter two have been subsumed. Mueller's opposition is a little like the Office of Circumlocution and an army of Mr. Tite Barnacles. At least this is the view from my eighty three year old brain.
Being rich doesn't mean you are not a jackass. ( Measure for Measure Act 111 Scene 1 Vincentio the Duke to Claudio ---for like an ass whose back with heavy ingots bows--- etcetera) . Bill Shakespeare seems to get it right, most of the time.
The year prior to our arrival at Lotus Island the preserve and protect activists blew up the barge containing the sewer pipes destined for the outfall in Ganges harbour. This is an implementation of the principle that violence is acceptable if the cause is good. We were promised that Price Road Beach would not have big turds floating over to us if the sewering of Ganges was stopped, and the clams, oysters and crabs that were in abundance would not get Hepatitis A and neither would we. Thirty five years later we never enountered a big turd on the beach, the butter and little neck clams, Japanese oysters and crabs never got Hepatitis A and our family was preserved and protected from the outfall.
When you are my age you always read the obituaries. This beautiful poem is for me "origin unknown" anyone?
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed,and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, -and done a hundred things...
And,while with silent lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Having watched Ken Burn's excellent nine part series on the civil war again I have come to a conclusion about the historical basis for the American ferocity. That it exists there can be no doubt. Fierce loyalties, unbridled entrepreneurism, passionately binary-focused, seen from outside, as typical of the country. That it has led to enormous power, energy, and an equal capacity to do good, there is no doubt, but capacity is not implementation and power may corrupt. We Canadians have nothing remotely comparable in our history. This may account for the differences in our collective natures, our bridled entrepreneurism, the dispassionate greyness of our observations and our tempered loyalties. In war and peace we always rose, and rose early and competently to the occasion, but within the bridled context of our collective nature. America's poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow probably, for me, describes his country best in the poem describing her vividly as:
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.
Yesterday I went to the dental hygienist. She grappled with my roots. I hadn't been for a while so calcified barnacles and other debris needed scraping, flushing, burnishing till the roots shone pristinely in a row, standing in some sort of orderly fashion. There was some bleeding but doubtless no hidden foul bacteria in underlying crevasses . "I hope I didn't hurt you , " she said. I said, " It wasn"t a problem. I played hockey."
In the years 1934 to 1936 the great depression had begun to wane. During those years my mother told me she and I lived in a tent on the bald prairie during the summer. She said it was the happiest period of her life. She said, "I got up in the morning, swept out the floor of the tent and we picked wild strawberries for breakfast with the farmers cream next door. Then you and I did all the nursery rhymes 'til you could say them by heart." I was two years old in 1936 and my mother and I were following my father those summers. As the depression abated he finally got work again with the railroad as a telegrapher substituting here and there in two week stints throughout the prairie railroad depots. We were like camp followers but she thrived on the change and the bonding with her first-born and the gypsy life style. The four years I had alone with my mother in this fashion, linked by indissoluble bonds not connected with things; house, bed, bicycle, TV, internet, may have left an imprint that differs from today. The stability that is supposed to be supplied by the received wisdom that a home must be provided with all the accoutrements in place before family planning has possibly some sense. However a little love, a lot of attention and bonding face to face with your mother, union of mind and body over nursery rhymes, makes up for any camp following and all the diverting stuff of today.
How much water in potatoes dictates boil, mash, or bake and roast.
I grew 5 varieties, 5 hills each to assess, colour ignored.
That was a long time ago but potatoes were important to me.
I arrived at good conclusions with apt varietal indications based on water content.
I don't recall any work on this matter but there probably is.
It's not something I care about now but like most things, I knew it once.
I like potatoes and can spell it, unlike an unfortunate one who couldn't once.
Potatoes are political: Phytophora was enabled by the Corn Law.
Our people peopled Canada because of Phytophora, if they survived.
Dependent on something related to Deadly Nightshade for life if they stayed.
My father grew potatoes in 1930 to sell and dumped them down the coal chute.
No one wanted them in the great depression.
Now I am writing about silly experiments and spelling when monumental things
Concern potatoes! Not the least when the modest proposal, in lieu of the potato, Irish infants were offered for the English appetite for boiling by Swift.
It's hard for me to see
Values at eighty three
Are really seemly
In two thousand seventeenly.
Nevertheless, I can't help thinking that applied politics haven't advanced much from Charles Dickens description of the Circumlocution Office of his mid-nineteenth century , led by Mr. Tite Barnacle, a master of circumlocution. To amplify, speaking in circles led by a barnacle that goes nowhere. Maybe I'm more modern than I thought, just applying Dickens to modern politics. If you have never read Little Dorrit you are in for a treat.
For Jim's past posts, check out his old blog here: