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18 January 2018– First territorial cardinal song!!

With snow and ice on the ground, I hope your Spring is on schedule, mliswilltravel.


Winds variable

Bob Corker of Tennessee did us all a favor by calling out the erratic behavior of Trump, and now, Corker has backslid on his questions about Trump. Corker did no one but Trump a favor in this.

Let me tell you about con men. They say they have a secret, and they can’t tell you, but they can make you lots of money or give you power—or something else you want. Then they tell you secret after secret as the con deepens, all the secrets are lies, and those conned are left with only air and only themselves to blame. In government, the con goes like this: The secrets in question are beyond your security clearance and your need to know. Gradually, you are “read in” on various lies that are supposedly beyond your ken or clearance, your clearance is changed, or somesuch lie as is convenient for the con men.

I fear that this has happened time after time to those who have spoken out against Trump, and the con is continuing. Anyone hear anything from Mitt Romney recently? Next thing you know, Corker will be saying that Trump is a stable genius, and a good guy to boot. Look for a parachute the color of gold as you have never seen before waiting for Corker when he retires; a parachute that will be nothing but a tissue of fiction. Just sayin.

On to happier things:

The winter robins are here as of this week. Robins are here year round, but comes a wet week in January, they are here in force, turning over every leaf in every ditch and garden, feeding and chirping. Many of my winter crops were laid low by unusually low temps (mid-teens for a week at night), and I am trying to catch up by replanting. I may just scratch it all up and start over again, counting on some late-sown clover and spring wildflowers to repair the damage. We shall see. Dill, dead. Seedling poppies, dead. Pansies, struggling. Live oaks, wounded. Garlic and onions, stopped in their tracks. Carrots and radishes, nonexistent. Again, glad I don’t make my living at it.

Wishing you the best at what you make a living at, with a good example from management who listens, mliswilltravel.

Maximum number of cardinals waiting in line for the feeder during recent snow = 7.

Greatest surprise at the mixed peanut butter and small seed feeder = mockingbirds.

Trying to finish up Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire. Apple exposition good, tulip too trippy for me to follow well. Trippy is also operant word for Garlic is Life by Chester Aaron. Big garlic fan here, but I could not hold an umbrella for Mr. Aaron. Also reading a biography of John Wayne by Maurice Zolotow. Hmmmm. This is a great example of a biographer getting in the way of a biographee.

A Pox

Sent to the one senator whose email address I have:

The tax reform bill is a hoax perpetrated upon the People. A pox on you and your platitudes. If a skunk runs against you, I am voting for the one who stinks less, and that would be the skunk.

Thanks, sz

Steve Zary, Hattiesburg, MS

The wisdom of Robert Louis Stevenson

“The little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.” Robert Louis Stevenson

RL had his own views of how little this rift might be, and while the rift should have been decreasing over the years, it obviously has not. We have had the knowledge for ages about egalitarian behaviors, but not the wisdom to apply that knowledge. How foolish is that? One might call it a worldwide failure. Ursula LeGuin laid out a model for society in The Dispossessed that I remember well, and I think we could attain egalitarian society without going to the extremes she proposed. Just sayin. If we are in fact the thinking apes, why do we think so poorly? Or, more accurately, act so poorly.

Explore, if you wish, Robert Louis Stevenson’s bumper sticker thoughts by searching for his quotes online. Kinda nice to be reminded that he did not wrap it up at Treasure Island.

And from a friend who insists upon getting out in the worst of weathers to exercise:

“And so long as a man is reasoning he cannot surrender himself to that fine intoxication that comes of much motion in the open air, that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain, and ends in a peace that passes comprehension.” Robert Louis Stevenson

May nothing surpass your comprehension, mliswilltravel.

The Shovel Family

Dearest Shovel Family,

There are no adequate words to express my high esteem and gratitude for the time we have spent together. To be associated with such stalwart and dependable workmates has truly been a wonderful reward and an unreserved pleasure. Never a cross word, never a refusal to cooperate, and my ideas have been met with your unbending support. Should you ever choose to graduate to the ranks of management, I can heartily recommend you as those who can lead by very good example, and, listen to your working companions. No one could ask more of a good manager.

Sincerely, mliswilltravel.

My friends, the whole Shovel Family, Skeeter, Blunt, and Point:

Roadtrip and all its appurtanances

Just back from a roadtrip of some small thousands of miles, covering Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania (murderous traffic and inept PennDOT workers), New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and I think that’s it. It was good to be out and about, seeing the landscapes change, drinking different waters, breathing different airs. I watched the bones of the earth exposed as leaves fell, and rejoiced at the demise of mosquitoes and warm humidity.

I did yard and garden work much like I would have done at home, but for and with other folks. Fun over all, and I guess my earlier paean to the shovel family said much about that. Stopped at an “emerald mine” in North Carolina and spent a day doing harder work than picking strawberries, and that is plenty hard. Saw good Amish construction, wonderful stone wall and paving work, sailing vessels, twisted spaghetti highways, and varying weather—but none of it running down my cold neck, thank goodness.

Also saw a nice exhibit of L. Frank Baum (Wizard of Oz) works at the Washington College library. Cool. Had a great conversation with a librarian who has given up on collecting any more Oz early editions because of pricing. The cutting edge of libraries and the necessary parsimony.

Workplace and sexual harassment issues that are in the news have finally begun to have consequences—for everyone but Donald Trump. As soon as our chief executive has to be accountable, then maybe women will feel safe. The workplace guidelines seem to be pretty clear these days, and anyone and everyone should speak up. This works in a well-ordered place, but the next to last place I worked, female comments about my appearance seemed to be aok. I reserved comment about women who came to work dressed as if for a pool party, and also resisted the hard shoes, dress shirt, and tie guidelines for men in the face of the hypocrisy of the female “leaders.” Just sayin.

Fair is fair, and again, if one does not lead by good example and listen, then one is by no means a competent leader nor manager. I am also waiting for actual parity whereby women do not feel empowered to harass or comment about men–just like racism, there are no ends to the double standards in this world. Failure to address these hypocrisies is just that, failure, and we are lesser creatures for it.

Hope there are no failures plaguing you, mliswilltravel.

My friend and colleague Louise Daileigh and I put up this sign five years ago, in the student kitchen at school. Did not check the internal condition of the microwave, btw, afraid of what I might find.

Homo moronicus maximus

It’s called devolution, folks.

May you not devolve, mliswilltravel