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Short shrift

Oooops. Just so the subject of the work is not a detriment to the reputation of Emily Mitchell and her art work, please see below. Humor. Life. I really like it. And these banners are about 6 x 9 feet. Really wonderful feeling.

Deeper into Summer, more shallow in reading

I just don’t settle down and read much anymore. Too much to do [he says, who excels at ignoring housework in favor of piddlin in the yard]. Barbara Kingsolver remains entertaining via Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I have piles and piles of books—and they remain in piles, including Orwell’s 1984. Like I said, 1984 is just too real these days, and even though I prefer non-fiction, this is not the dystopia I had in mind. Dang.

A visiting artist who works from photos did my portrait, which is something she says is her favorite thing to do. Emily Mitchell is from Austin, is a classroom teacher, has a new happy bubbly baby, and will be with us thru July. If you want to see her work and/or commission a portrait, go to She seemed to find a window into my sadness with her drawing, and I thank her for showing me what others see. At this point, I have given up on being able to change the world except in the case of those things I can put my hands upon. So be it; my sadness is well-earned, I think.

Things on the turtle front look up, with mini turtles sighted and fed. The figs are in, so turtles are being fed figs instead of strawberries, and I need to rework my strawberries (pull the woody ones and let the young ones come along). The sunflowers are taller than anything in my asparagus and perennial bed, which is to be expected, and the understory of peanuts is feeding everything with the nitrogen the legumes are fixing. Too wet for peppers and tomatoes to really prosper, but…..there is a silver lining somewhere, as the bumper crop of toads will provide evenings of song as soon as they find their voices. All ok here, you??

Hope you prosper, mliswilltravel.

Close relative of Jimmy Durante?

Road rocks from points West:

The Big Sweat is upon us

Dripping after moments in the heat and humidity, and salty at the end of the day, with stinging eyes when one rinses the face in the garden hose. Good for tomatoes and peppers, kinda hard on humans. My peppers really are not that well, as the slugs have eaten them off as fast as I can set them out. Hmmmm. Hotsauce futures not looking good, but I take heart in that the more slugs there are, the better the box turtles will get their protein. Balance.

The second crop of sunflowers and first crop of peanuts and field peas are doing well. Lotta rain this Spring, and kinda coolish. A friend who grows commercial garlic has suffered (rot, green sprouting, hard to get in the field), and I empathize with every commercial grower who has difficulties. What is a pastime for me is deadly serious for others, and I am so glad I am not a farmer/gambler. Would love to have a bigger patch to work, and be able to have a diversity of crops, including an orchard—but then I would have thousands of flowers and millions of weeds (instead of my current hundreds and thousands).

Reading some Barbara Kingsolver non-fiction, called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It’s about trying to live in a self-sustaining manner on a patch of land in southwest Virginia. What she lacks in biological and botanical knowledge, Kingsolver makes up for in enthusiasm and a thorough exposition of the out of control corporate “food” industry. We have traded calories for quality. Wonder if Kingsolver and Michael Pollan know each other?

This trend of calories over quality may be reversible, like global climate change, but my generation will not know for sure. THAT is the question. Will this generation act to better coming generations? Same as it ever was. This is always the question, and improper, wrongheaded answers are the norm. Bless us all. The only comfort may be that those who have nothing (the subsistence folks, the meek) will do the best when it all comes crashing down. When the developed world is in turmoil because the grocery stores are empty, the meek will just be waking up to another hard day of surviving. Bless them, most of all.

May we all practice subsistence in our own ways, mliswilltravel.

Summer advances, my reading flags

Back in the arms of The South, sweaty, clinging, suffercating. We still have a breeze, so we are not in full Summer. This is the season where begins the rain envy. These days, one can see thunderheads, see the curtains of rain falling, and envy those under those rains for the good it is doing their gardens. This envy, of course, increases as the season dries and advances. It is so tempting to hear other folks’ thunder, smell their washing rain, and know that the clouds just aren’t coming your way. Ahhhhh. But so nice to be under one of those showers. There are a million drops in the air right now, falling to Earth and mobilizing the nutrients so the plants can use them, dampening the pets among us and making them appreciate their humans even more, and the thunder is making us all go back to our more primitive selves—staying indoors and staying out of the wet.

Finishing up Michael Pollan’s “Cooked” and trying to catch up on my magazines. Harper’s had a great play by play of the Snowden leaks in the May 2017 issue, I bleve, and the Funny Times chugs away on the humor and satire side of things. My reading comes in 15 minute segments as I doze off. Hmmmm. Need to apportion more time during the day, perhaps.

Read well, think well, act well, mliswilltravel.

Just can’t out-repurpose those librarians

Challis, Idaho–refrig and washer

Travels and readings

Did I see a librarian from Tennessee at a rest stop in New Mexico on 22March?? Did I? Was charmed by the desolate aspect of the place, and the Beware of Rattlesnakes sign, and did not have my brain in gear. As I went down the road, it occurred to me that the lady I saw looked suspiciously like a fellow chile hotsauce maker who once worked at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center library. Likely mistaken, but I missed my chance to play the do you know game. Dang.

Still have not the courage to assay Orwell’s 1984, and am pandering to my delicate sensibilities by reading James Michener’s Chesapeake. It has been thirty years since I picked up any of Michener’s works, and I am reminded why. Methinks that when he dined upon English peas, Michener individually pierced each pea separately and conveyed them to his prim and fastidious mouth. Just sayin. But, when traveling, large books that last are an advantage, and I certainly have that advantage in Chesapeake. Next time I get to the Eastern Shore, I will ask around to see if anyone read the book and then, for their assessment.

Also picked up Blue Latitudes by a Mr. Horwitz, who excerpts Captain John Cook’s logs on his voyages of discovery, and then re-traces those voyages by modern transport and reports from what used to be Paradise. The news ain’t all that good, but the reading is better than average.

Regrettably, am finishing Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life which lets me know that there can be no mistake about the erosion of good sense and culture. The Kardashians are just the titty tip of the iceberg. Left this book in the lobby of a university science building with an inscription that said take this book, please.

Please pick up E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat. Also, please see an excerpt below from the essay titled “Sabbath Morn.” White was writing for Harper’s and The New Yorker pre-WWII, and in those unsettled times, was addressing many of the upsets we still suffer from, especially with President Tweet in charge. Edifying. Comforting. Slantingly insightful.

“When I feel sick unto death, I cry out in agony to God, and when I speak boastingly, I knock on wood. Here is a clear case of divided responsibility, for there appears to be for me a power in wood that God doesn’t possess.”

Was also re-introduced to the High Country News, which was a prescient title to pick way back when for a publication originating in Colorado. Quite good, quite slick, and very informative regarding the Western mindset. They have a website, but am uncertain as to how open the access is from there.

Dawdling, wandering, reading, maundering, mliswilltravel.

Does this make sense to you? Make all of your charitable donations in opposition to the policies of Donald Trump, and have acknowledgements sent to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW / Wash DC 20500?????. ACLU? Planned Parenthood? Public Radio? Just thinking that those of us who are not rich enough to have a voice in politics can at least have a voice in the non-profit world. If money is speech, I am a mute.

Just have not been able to face 1984

Well, I thought it would be good to re-read Orwell’s 1984, but I have not been able to face it. Every day seems like a 1984 reprise, so why submerge into that world just as I am heading off to sleep?? Am reading a history of bourbon whiskey by Dane Huckelbridge, and will report when I know more. Generally when “history” is part of the title, one can expect a nap to ensue soon, but Bourbon: A History… moves right along. Fine so far.

And now, having read more, Bourbon remains amusing. Despite some editing slips, we are now to the turn of the 20th century in the United States, and corn booze is ascendant. Here come the prohibitionists and the gangsters. Huckelbridge puts many asides in footnotes, and it is clear that these snippets wound up in the “not quite” bin, but provide pleasant sidelights to a bourbon-centric narrative.

Lives of a Cell (Lewis Thomas) held up throughout in terms of reportage and relevancy. Written between 1971 and 1973, that is quite a good prescient look at today’s world. What some might miss is that scientists have always been interested in just the facts, ma’m, so blowing irrelevant smoke is not the scientist’s forte. My foray into management gurus’ writings have more than warned me about the kind of reasoning and lionizing that soon falls flat on its face. Peter Drucker still holds up, but the first requirement of Drucker management is that you trust people. The folks who have followed Drucker have been backsliding on this trust equation, and have had little to offer, in my opinion. The genuine article tends to stand out, so I hope to find other works by Lewis Thomas to read. Checked my local library and struck out, but I will keep looking.

As a great example of recent irrelevant smoke, have you heard that Donald Humpty Trumpty’s “friends” can’t get loans? You mean they can’t get loans at the favorable rates and conditions they used to? Where tax breaks and depreciation pretty much led to a zero sum game for the cabal of Trump and his friends, while said Trump and friends were free to rake in the rent—or just walk away from failing properties and non-performing loans? I care not for Trumpty’s friends to continue to make profits at my expense, and endanger the financial system again ala 2008. Just sayin. Dodd-Frank should be strengthened, not weakened.

As usual, I get enough to get along, but my wishes for a fair society wind up in the ditch. I have just been through the medical insurance marketplace after my COBRA coverage expired. What I did not realize is that in order to qualify for Obamacare coverage, one must have some sort of projected earned or taxable income. This, in my opinion, leaves the most vulnerable and needy among us without health coverage, which leads to clogged emergency rooms and uncompensated care—which costs are shifted to those who can pay. Better we should put more money and effort into Medicare and Medicaid for all instead of lining the pockets of insurance executives. Whomever put the pharmaceutical and insurance industry in charge of medical care was dishonest and shortsighted—and knowing who made those decisions and knowing they are covered for life by Cadillac health coverage—easy to make decisions in an offhand manner that will never affect you and your family.

Dear One Percenters and Congress Critters, I care not about you and your families, mliswilltravel.