A Cater Corner* Place Holder

Not Eric Holder, thank heavens…

Just a note to let all of y’all know the Baron is away from his desk. The poor man is making the slog into town to get antibiotics for me; it will be a right good while before he returns.

I had a root canal done on a molar yesterday and early this evening the remaining tissue has swelled up something fierce. I really do look like one of those cartoons with an ice pack on my right jaw, tied with a scarf. Not nearly as amusing as those old jokes, but, hey, real life seldom is.

Many of you know how far we live from civilization. As I used to say sometimes, we’re forty miles from the nearest latte. In addition, it’s also the same amount of time from here to the only synagogue around…which was once a church. Cater-corner* from the synagogue is a Catholic church, which backs up against a library and is directly across from some lawyers’ offices. I used to call that whole configuration – synagogue, church, library and lawyers – Holy Moses. Right there you could find any kind of spiritual or legal or literary solace you needed.

But not antibiotics.

*Catty-corner is a directional word, meaning that something is diagonally across from something else.

In case y’all have a different word to indicate “diagonally across the street”, here are some selections from a site I’m too woozy to source. They come from a website called Daily Writing Tips. When the Baron returns he’ll put in the link, but meanwhile here’s the meat:

The word started out as cater-corner. Cater is an English dialect word meaning “to set or move diagonally.”

When the word cater with its meaning of “to set or move diagonally” dropped out of the language, folk etymology got busy and now we have all kinds of “cat” variants for this concept:

  • catty-cornered

  • kitty-corner

  • kitty-cornered

  • catty-corner

  • cat-a-corner
  • kitty-corner

  • kit-a-corner

I’ll bet the French idiomatic phrase for “diagonally across the street” is even more entertaining.


The Baron left y’all reluctantly, believe me. But duty called…

…meanwhile, me icepack is slipping…

The Baron Will Be Back (None Too) Soon

Gentle Readers, all:

Even as I write this, the Baron is wending his way toward Schloss Bodissey. I know you will be glad to see him out of the saddle and back in charge. So will I, friends, so will I.

During his absence I’d planned to post some items I’ve had on “Hold”. Lots of plans. However, my health hasn’t allowed for the basics, much less any extras. Madre de Dios, when he sees the backed up sludge of email…hours of it since I was forced to stop even opening that page.

Besides the usual ‘meh’ I normally employ to describe my health, there are newer, more unpleasant symptoms in the last few days. Since I’m not often easy prey for wandering viruses, I’ve been at a loss to explain myself to myself. So perhaps what I’m experiencing is a version of that new plague being visited upon the U.S., for which Scott Johnson supplies an interesting explanation, given to him by a doctor: [the emphasis is mine]
Continue reading

It Figures…

The Baron has spent hours on the phone talking to the techies and fixers, though to no avail. Finally, he went to do the marketing for me since our vegetable situation was critical…

…and y’all know that Schloss Bodissey is at the Edge of Beyond – or rather, smack dab in the Middle, where there be monsters – so it will be a while before he returns.

I have no idea what brought us down, but there was talk of how long it takes to propagate a new something-or-other. It’s whatever all those little numbers are called. And yes, they shouldn’t let me near a computer given the level of my ignorance.

It was leprechauns in the intertubes, that’s what it was. I almost grabbed one – even had the edge of his coat – but all I have to show for my efforts is a bit of tattered green cloth. Do you think they might be lying about their purported pots of gold? Have you noticed President Obama looks a bit like a leprechaun? He’d never make the height limits, though. I can’t picture him crouched under a toadstool, can you?

In the meantime, a placeholder post to let y’all know we’re not dead. Thanks for the concerned emails, too.

Arthur Heads North & Gates of Vienna Returns from Coventry

Why were we out of business? I have no idea. Henrik did something or other and we’re back. He and the Baron will discuss when the latter returns.

On Fourth of July (tomorrow) Hurricane Arthur should be off the coast of Virginia, bringing assorted weather our way for certain. It had been forecast to remain a Category One but now they’re saying maybe it will move into a Category Two for a brief while during its sojourn past Virginia’s coast. Right now there are lots of passing storms, a breeze mostly from the south, and intermittent sunshine. The temperature has dropped at least fifteen degrees.

We’re about three hours away from the coast – though more like two hours as the crow flies, and hurricanes do use crow flight. In other words, the weatherlies will increase and we’ll get some high winds and rain tomorrow. The rain will be most welcome, the possibility of downed trees not so great. If it is too severe it will delay the Baron’s return until it moves along.

The Baron is having a great time watching the Weather Channel on the TV in his motel room. He gets to see all the forecast models and listen to meteorological geek talk. Why do we like to watch weather so much? How do they keep one channel devoted solely to weather?? Sans TV, I’m watching the live stream from a web camera installed in some inlet in North Carolina; things have picked up in the short time I’ve been watching but the boats there are all safely battened down.

Our beloved Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a part of a long Barrier Reef which runs the length of the North Carolina coast (poking a bit into Virginia), is going to get creamed once again, probably just as Arthur turns into a Category Two. Mandatory evacuations via the state’s ferries is required during one of these super-storms.

The erosion with each new blow means that eventually Ocracoke will disappear, taking a small piece of Britain with it. Hmmm…are Brits like Islam? Bury British bodies on that spot and it becomes a part of Her Majesty’s Empire? The link will show you a few pictures, but I’d recommend doing a Google Image search for more views of the cemetery. We always visited when we were on the Island. To pay our respects, to come smack up against the past, to remind ourselves of our own mortality.

The erosion damage is most apparent on the very thin road that takes one from the mainland to the island. Road crews are always out pushing back the dunes that continue to form as the road washes away. I saw a brief glimpse of it today and the storm is already washing over it. I hope everyone made it off the island – though I have an idea the natives stay home if it’s only a Category Two.

There is a listing of the communities – and a mention of their distinctive “brogue” on this wiki about the Outer Banks. A fascinating place. Yes, it does indeed make me sad to think I will never be well enough to make that long trek again. It’s one of those moments when you wish you could go back to the last time you were there and know at the time you won’t be able to return. But the memories are good ones so maybe it’s just as well I didn’t know…those long bike rides were great fun on the last trip.

Perhaps it’s enough to know our son will continue the tradition since he loves Ocracoke, too.

As for tomorrow, Fourth of July, the annual observance of America’s independence…I think I’ll skip the ceremonies this year. It feels too much like a raw wound at the moment, with little to celebrate.

Whither the Weather

Okay, the Baron is gone searching for some contract work. In his absence, some storms have moved in.

Normally I like the sturm und drang since it provides much-needed rain. And with the B running interference with our internet connection, I just take it in stride when he tells me the connection is out. If the weather is particularly egregious, then he has to talk to the phone company and do things to the gadgets and switches. Oh wait, he does the gadgets first, then he puts in a trouble ticket with the phone company.

His instructions to me, written out and left in three places, concern how to shut down those little doo-hickeys and then how to start them up again and in which order- oh, and how long to wait between knobs. However…

If there’s a general knock-out due to a transformer being hit down the line (actually in our case it’s UP the line, in the nearby mountains), that’s the point where he would call the phone company, but that’s also the point at which he told me, “don’t bother. The techno-talk is annoying at the best of times. If you can call out, get ahold of Vlad so he can notify our readers”.

Strange system. Sometimes it knocks out our phone. Sometimes it leaves the phone alone and takes our internet connection hostage instead. And sometimes the storm rages on and leaves everything intact. This one has a fair amount of lightning in it so I’ll take a pass on standing out in it just to feel the cool. Today the temperature hit 96F with a “feels like” 110. That’s pretty awful, but not near as bad as 13F, with a “feels like” minus 12F.

Speaking of weather: remember that climate alarmist who showed up here not too long ago to frighten us with global warming scary booger stories and y’all jumped on him with science Facts and Figures?

Expect those folks to be sending out great waves of self-satisfied gloats as an early (early by a week) hurricane works its way up the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Arthur will be welcomed here. It’s barely a Category One and it’s wide enough to dump some water inland, lowering the warnings about forest fires.

I Got My Bindle Packed

I’ll be away for a couple days to visit family, and also to look into a possible part-time programming contract. I really need the work, so please send your prayers my way. Or, if you prefer, send your positive karmic vibrations on the astral plane. Whatever works!

There will be no news feed until I get back.

Dymphna will be in charge while I’m gone. Actually, she’s in charge all the time; it’s just more obvious when I’m not here. Just practice saying “yes, ma’am” and you’ll be OK. It works for me.

NOT the Fundraiser…

…not yet, anyway.

Timing is everything, until it isn’t. When plans get pushed aside by events…

We’d planned to do the Spring 2014 Fundraiser Fun-For-All starting tomorrow. The Baron has just arrived home, but he’s full of the Orlando aftermath. “Aftermath” means lots of videos to process and a lot of ground to go over again, but in cyberspace time rather than real time.

So we’ve decided that it would be best if he simply takes the week to decompress, process and metabolize the events and the people who came together to give voice to the voiceless Christians who are being murdered by the Religion of Peace. That done, we can begin the nuts-and-bolts of fundraising later on.

How much “later” remains the question. I would like to do it near the Summer Solstice, but the B may not want to wait that long. My reason? For several decades we had a Midsummer weekend celebration. Friends came from all over and camped out for two days. We had lots of food and a big Saturday night supper with everyone contributing their favorite dish. I don’t think we ever had to assign main dishes or salads or desserts; it just seemed to turn out right by magic. And I could always count on the bachelors for Kentucky Fried Chicken. (My specialty was sweet and sour stuffed cabbage). The fireworks were after supper — it didn’t get dark until after nine so all the kids were certainly wound up by then. And with the mighty sugar surges from Mississippi Mudcake flowing through their systems, their little brains were panting for the fiery flowers in the dark sky overhead and the pinwheels and the rocket’s red glare, of course.

Ah, memories. We sure collected us some…

Anyways, no Spring Fundraiser this week. But there will be an Early Summer Squeeze for sure. No doubt y’all are as disappointed as can be, but never fear — that mason jar full o’ cash will be lighting our pages soon.

However, first things first:…

Continue reading

Tempus Fugit, with Amendments

Addendum Upon Reflection

About Kris Kristofferson, all-American, er, Scandinavian-American Dreamer

Like all of us, this man is a product of his time and place. He was the quintessential middle class over achiever who had his mid-life crisis early:

  • an athelete scholar who loved Blake and wrote a failed novel in his youth;
  • studied in England as a Rhodes scholar;
  • ordered to West Point to teach English literature as an Army captain – but resigned his commission instead;
  • flew helicopters to make money for his child support payments;
  • disowned by his mother when he left respectability and went to Nashville

In essence he was a dreamer in disguise, a failed novelist who turned to song-stories as a way to get to the heart of it all. Mark Knopfler, that genius guitatrist, said so succinctly and sardonically about singers: money for nothing and the chicks are free.

Except they aren’t free, not really – which is the point of Knopfler’s song if you listen closely. Kristofferson, the ‘straight arrow’ of youth, probably surprised himself as much as anyone when he totted up the price of fame. But I’ll bet he’d pay it all over again, including the costs borne by those ‘hostages to fortune’(whom he probably petitioned for pardon on a regular basis) – his children.

This first part of Kristofferson’s biography, below, covers his childhood and on up to a delayed-fuse-Big-Rebellion, where he ends up as a janitor looking for the chance. It’s easy for us to see that his flight to fame ought to have begun earlier, when he was younger and unemcumbered by children. But he must have been fighting his Scandinavian DNA where you do what is expected of you…and then, American-style, throw it all away for the chance to be heard. Americans are a people of second or even third chances, of re-inventions of self while we struggle to find the center. Doing it over until you get it right.

Makes you wonder what his epitaph will be; there are so many good lines in his oeuvre from which to choose. The Baron – when going out on a limb in his unexpected reincarnation as a member of the Counterjihad – frequentlly quotes the tagline from KK’s “Bobby McGee” – “nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’, but it’s free”. That’s probably the one they’ll use, but I hope they choose an alternative, equally humorous but edgier, line for Mr Kristofferson’s headstone: I never beat the Devil, but sometimes I drank his beer for nothing…

Continue reading

While The Baron is Away…Chapter the First

I ask your patience while the Baron is away.

There have been various technical glitches beyond my ken. For one thing, our blog host decided to “migrate” things beginning last night. I’ve no idea what that means but I do hope they’re done and that all the numbers they emailed to us are not anything that can’t wait till the Baron gets home.

Oh, and the mail is also having problems but that is a separate issue. Our ISP person seems to be away at the moment and was vague about when she’d return. I have an idea she’s in Europe but I didn’t ask so she wouldn’t have to lie to me.

Regarding our hosting problem, this “migration” meant I couldn’t get in to post or to moderate comments. I believe that for some of the time, readers weren’t able to access the home page either.

There’s an additional problem that can be handled more easily when the Baron is around. When I let comments in, they don’t always show up, even though I’m seeing “zero comments” awaiting moderation. Thus I have to wait to see which ones are ‘really’ in. Some of them have been through this four or five times – I apologize if yours was one of them.

Even the Baron has difficulties with this sometimes – it’s a Word Press ‘feature’, I’m told. But his computer upstairs is much closer to all the gizmos – router and such – so his moderation is much quicker than mine. When it works, that is. However, he says they don’t always go in on the first try for him, either.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Lulu on a Laptop
In addition, it’s hard to lose a pet, harder than I was aware of at first. After the children were grown and there was nothing left to mother, there was still the garden and Lulu, as freaky and neurotic as she was (and as stubborn as plants can be sometimes). The vet told me that this particular cat had inherited a “fear” gene from her paternal side and when cats are born that way, you can’t calm them down completely. So I gave her an anxiolytic every day and she got to live life somewhere other than under the bed.

But her “nerves” were also due to the influence of a calico we had back before Lulu made her way into the church hall one Sunday when we were having lunch. When she arrived – perhaps drawn by the smell of food – I recall that she was friendly enough. It was George’s influence after we brought her home that kind of flipped on that epigenetic process. Had she never met George, she’d have been more ‘normal’ – though we are talking about a cat after all.

George was a male calico. Males are quite unusual so we presumed that we had a cat named Geneviève until it came time to have “her” spayed (we never looked – go figure). The vet told us “she” was a male, a 10,000 –in-one ‘sport’. Even though they are sterile, you have to neuter male calicos anyway. They don’t know they’re sterile and they’ll spray things when they get older. So we went into the vet’s with Geneviève and left with George. Yes, the vet’s name was George.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

George was a mellow pleasant cat until Lulu arrived. She actually came walking through the church hall when we were having lunch. As I remember her then, she was easy. But George changed that. And even after he died, she didn’t revert to her old self. Maybe that “fear gene” was there and George smelled it and reacted to it. Animals live in another universe entirely.

Anyway, a friend came the next afternoon and helped me dig a hole for Lulu’s body, out near our large pile of shredded wood chips left from the last time they came to trim the big oaks. We have that done to keep the house safe from leaning limbs. I had planned to bury her nearer a wild azalea but…the bear changed that.

Let’s see. Lulu died about sunset. I let her lie where she was for a while, not willing to disturb her yet. Then I began a post, but fell asleep, probably exhausted from that death watch. Several hours later, there was a lot of noise on the porch. I woke, startled, thinking at first it might be a dog after Lulu. Lost hunting dogs come through our yard sometimes and if we can catch them, they get tied to the Paulownia tree and we call the owners. Lulu is way too fast for them to ever get near her but they sure can howl when they spot her up in the branches.

It was only as I walked to the door to turn on the porch light that I saw Lulu’s body under the console table, her face turned to the wall. There was a momentary frisson of remembrance. Oh. Right. Lulu was safe; she’d never have to run from a dog again.

I turned on the porch light but by then whatever had been making all the noise was gone. The large Amazon box I’d left by the glider was ripped open and the contents – a dolly I’d ordered so I could get the new monitor into the house when it came – was lying on the grass. I went outside to retrieve the box and the dolly. It had rained all day and there were large, sloppy wet footprints on the porch and steps. The container of grass seed was spilled.

What th? – as the Baron would say.
Continue reading

UPDATE: That Massacre in Nairobi

Some notes and quotes on the killings in Nairobi by a bunch of hoodlums, probably largely from Somalia, bent on revenge…

[I apologize for the lack of narrative flow in this post. I sat by my cat of thirteen years, Lulu, with the computer in my lap, following leads and trying to trace the patterns as I listened for her breathing, occasionally smoothing her cheek. At some point, she died and I retreated to finish this. Yeah, her death was small compared to this barbaric slaughter, but I thanked her for the fitting accompaniment anyway.]

There are no images. You and I have seen so much carnage and destruction delivered by the jihadists over the years that we surely have them memorized by now. Those pictures are jihad porn; they add pleasure for the killers, so I can I omit them here. On Twitter several people are complaining about the New York Times’ many images of bloody bodies. When I come across such pictures, I scroll past them. My first thought is inevitably some version of “oh, I hope the mother/wife/child doesn’t see this last image of their beloved”.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

From All Africa first, and amended by the National Post, some numbers:

At least 26 39 people have been killed or succumbed to injuries following the shooting at the Westgate Shopping mall in Nairobi’s Westlands area. This is according to the Kenya Red Cross service that provided emergency response services.

Red Cross The President also say[s] that a further 50 150 people have been admitted to various hospitals with injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to fractures and cuts.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Kenya’s president had relatives killed or injured in that massacre. The mall is the most upscale in Kenya…
Continue reading

Sunday Sermon

This post is but a poem, a poem with asides. For example, this first aside will tell you the post began as “Sunday Morning Sermon” because that’s when it started in an email sent by reader, MA.

But then The Interruptions began when the Baron came through the front door to say the hickory nuts are falling early and thus the “Morning” aspect of this sermon became moot.

Oh dear. Those hickory nuts are following this year’s pattern where everything has arrived or left out of season, as though someone stole the music of the spheres off the stands, forcing them all to take wild guesses as to the proper sequence of their own tunes in the larger season’s hymnal. Thus, the B was taken by surprise at the unexpectedly early sounds of hickory nuts following the law of gravity (at least that one is still in place). He stopped by my computer to give me the news from the front yard. Among his many talents he can imitate the sounds of falling hickory nuts. They are arrhythmic dull percussions – an intermittent series of sssws-thunks – that surely set little squirrels hearts to beating faster.

I must admit to a certain pleasure when the B display yet another heretofore hidden talent. Has his failing eyesight caused his hearing to sharpen so that he can now discern the first sound- the soft sssws – from the note of closure – that dull thunk?

A second aside: it is a good and fitting thing to have one’s mental furniture re-arranged from time to time. This task is not something one can do for oneself; it is undergone rather than scheduled or arranged ahead of time. Sometimes it’s annoying and inconvenient, isn’t it? Like a minor earthquake rattling the place settings as your guests arrive at your dinner party – the one you were forced to give as part of the exigencies of your husband’s continued employment because if they were your customers, it would be pizza and beer at the local…

This poem sent by MA is just one more rearrangement. Knowing where to have Oscar Wilde is convenient. But when he shows up out of order, saying things you didn’t know he considered at all, well…it’s…it’s what exactly? Disconcerting, maybe? But in the long run, salutary. Whenever my vast ignorance about things literary is even slightly reduced, ‘tis a salutary thing indeed.

Another aside follows after Mr. Wilde’s appearance with his sonnet.


Christ, dost Thou live indeed? or are Thy bones
Still straitened in their rock-hewn sepulchre?
And was Thy Rising only dreamed by her
Whose love of Thee for all her sin atones?
For here the air is horrid with men’s groans,
The priests who call upon Thy name are slain,
Dost Thou not hear the bitter wail of pain
From those whose children lie upon the stones?
Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom
Curtains the land, and through the starless night
Over Thy Cross a Crescent moon I see!
If Thou in very truth didst burst the tomb
Come down, O Son of Man! and show Thy might
Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!

Continue reading