Apr 112016

The home gardener has a miserable life.

Yearly we are deceived by catalogs, magazines, and websites into thinking we can get the same results. We see gorgeous vistas at public gardens, blooms in every pot, not a brown spot to be seen. We return to our little patches, where our roses are leggy and spotty, blooms puny, and where do I get irises like the ones I just saw, anyway? We don’t see the swarms of laborers and volunteers, the cunning photographers, the horticulturalists, the mobs of persuaders.

March was unusually warm, very lamblike, but got surly toward the end, and the first part of April has down downright leonine, a series of shrewish grey days. Today, though, has been mostly smiles. I spent some time hacking grey mulberry and wild grape out of the hedge – wild grape is a water pump this time of year. I found one ancient vine that I savaged, and marked for return visits. Tomorrow, perhaps, I shall apply myself to the grill.

 Posted by at 1:08 pm
Apr 062016

After getting the GC onto the school bus, I took a stroll over to the nearby drug/convenience/not-quite-general store to get some razor blades.  I don’t buy them often.  I found that I no longer have a clue which blade to get.  The packaging and appearance have entirely changed, and all of them cost astounding amounts.  A mistake would be out of the question.  So what to do? Grow a beard?  O might then be mistaken for a preacher man, and we can’t have that.  Join one of those cheap razor clubs?  Well, maybe.  Research Is Needed.  Retiring in defeat, I went home.

 Posted by at 9:19 am
Jan 182016

I’ve been playing with bread.  It’s winter, after all.  Can’t garden.  This one is pretty good, so if you dabble in making your own, it’s pretty simple and it turned out well.

First, start with King Arthur Flour’s Buttercrust recipe, here, down at the bottom.  It’s pretty good itself, but I wanted a loaf that was a tad healthier, and would make enough for two smaller loaves.  I modified the flour to:  1 cup fed sourdough starter, 1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour, 1.25 cups white wheat flour, and .75 cups millet flour.  I modified other ingredients proportionally, and gave the dough a long first rise.  Then divide, gashed, and let rise in the pans.  The resulting loaf was tasty, firm enough for sandwiches and toast, and lasted pretty well.  The millet gives the loaf a slightly golden color.  I haven’t tried it as french toast bread, but it’s probably good for that, too.


 Posted by at 9:00 am
Dec 102015

Christians are reminded, maybe not often enough, that we are all made in the Image of God; equally, we have all sinned and fallen short of that Glory that made the heavens and the earth. Even politicians are made in God’s own Image. Even Donald Trump. Even Hillary Clinton.

So when we are obliged, as we are in a democracy, to consider the merits and demerits of those who present themselves for public office, we must consider the policies they advocate and what we can guess of their character, but do so without animus. “That is a terrible idea” isn’t the same as “You are a terrible person.” We are all terrible people, in some way. Of course, an aspiring office holder may by the ideas they advocate, by their manner of life, by behavior, demonstrate that they do not meet the Minimal Decency Rule.

Donald Trump, who is a bully and an oaf, for some reason decided to run for the Presidency, and as a Republican.* A bit of a mystery, that. The Eeyore party is too delighted by his candidacy to be puzzled by it; he distracts them from the appalling candidates they’ve thrown up. The Heffalumps are finally noticing that he’s a center for disaffection. A fair chunk of the public thinks that our institutions are failing us, that substantial action is needed to reverse the trend toward mandarin government and its bumbling intrusion into daily life. Of course, Trump is just such a mandarin himself. I doubt that a Trump administration will see a revival of the Federal ideal, a restoration of fiscal stability, and a penetrating and effective foreign and military policy in the heritage of George Kennan, John Foster Dulles, Scoop Jackson, and Sam Nunn. Not at all.

Of course, no one has actually voted for Mr. Trump. The numerous polls are, it seems to me, likely wrong, and are more intended to shape “public opinion” than to reveal it.

*Since all politicians trim and lie, how do you tell genuine Heffalumps from genuine Eeyores? Heffalumps by and large (it’s complicated) at least pay lip service to the Constitution and at least say they place primacy on the individual’s liberties. By his contempt for the Constitution and obvious thirst for self-aggrandizement, I decline to call Mr. Trump a Heffalump. Of course, in our strange society, one is what one identifies oneself as, so . . . Contrawise, Eeyores are more or less frank in their contempt of the Constitution, from Woody Wilson onwards, and emphasize notional social issues over individual liberties. Both tend to be in the pocket of one form or another of economy-strangling Crony Capitalists.

 Posted by at 10:57 am
Oct 152015

Probably the last of the year, Rose “Pristine.” A classic hybrid tea, lightly scented, very delicately colored.  Big glossy leaves, fairly disease resistant.  Farewell until next June.


 Posted by at 9:00 am
Oct 142015

So Saturday is NU’s homecoming which will probably feature an infestation of bumblebees, who will repetitiously demonstrate their spelling ability.  Under Armor is providing “throw back” uniforms in honor of the 1995 Rose Bowl team, which is very nice and all.  One thing about being an old codger is that I don’t need to buy no stinkin’ throwback stuff.  I’ve got originals.  Now if I can just find my Johnny Evers uniform blouse.  I know its here somewhere. . .


 Posted by at 6:51 am
Sep 022015

At this point in the presidential round, one listens to what they say, not that they’ll do stuff, but that you hope to get a hint of the character they might bring to the job. I’ve never understood Hillary’s assumption of entitlement, but that’s ok. Bernie reminds us that the problem with Socialism is Socialism. Isn’t there some obscure ex-gov running around on the Donk side? That’s it? Pending Handsy Joe Biden’s entrance, of course.

It’s hard to keep track of all the Heffalumps. Most of them might be ok in the job, especially for folks like me who would like to see a government of more modest scope. Do we actually need Rabbit Inspectors? I like Ben Carson; he’s a decent man. I think we may need someone with more skill in the foreign and military areas. I enjoy listening to Carly talk; she knows how to turn her interviewer’s attempted trap questions inside out. She’s well prepared, and that’s different. And I enjoy the spectacle of the dominant media trying to turn Scott Walker’s reasonable answers to loaded questions inside out. They’re worried about him. Fun. Rubio is likeable and works hard, Kasich decent and sensible (if dull. But a dull president has a place, too. Maybe dull would be good), and Cruz is smart and interesting, but he might have too much fun in the job.

But Trump worries me. He has no visible character, no policies that are not of the moment, and his public presentation reminds me far too much of bygone, strutting European politicians. I’ll refer you to the first chapter of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism.  His hyper-masculinity, rudeness, and brazen manipulation of media and public worries are too familiar; he turns his ignorance into an asset, too. “See? I’m not like those guys, those politicians.” These are a bundle of traits that are often appealing in overstressed democracies. He’d be a disastrously bad president.

Trump-Wedding-Yay-Clintons-998x646The speculation that he was planted by the Clintons – they were at his most recent wedding, remember – as a sort of disruptive clown has some plausibility. Trump has been an expert manipulator of crony capitalism, a deal maker but not a producer, a skillful user of media. And completely without any trace of character or principle. He’s pretty much the epitome of the RINO. He’s running against the Republicans: compare him with Carly, he’s made herself sort of a Hillary-seeking missle. Jeb Bush, to his credit (and no, we don’t need dynasties), seems to be taking on the task of going toe-to-toe with Trump. Good for him.

 Posted by at 9:50 am
Aug 052015

I went to a mall yesterday.  I get to malls maybe 6 times a year.  Saw a movie, in Grandpa role.  It’s one that has drawn lots of oohs and ahhs but I didn’t like it that much, for myself or for the Grandcutie.  Not bad, just over-advocated.  But that’s not the curiousity.  Maybe I should change the name of this blog to Cabinet of Curiosities.  Is anyone using that?

The curiosity was in the car I was parked next to.  Someone loved the presidential incumbent enough to change the license plate to BHO with a number.  Hope & Change stickers on it.  And now, this.


 Posted by at 5:54 am