Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Prospect Park Conspiracy Theory.

I was just reading the intriguing story of the aggressive – possibly rabid – squirrel which has been attacking people in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. When the news reached Donald Trump he reportedly tweeted:

Dont no body beleev it. More fake nooz. Just maid up by some raybid dems, a mean ya gota bee raybid to bee a dem, rite?

The tweet never went public because a subsequent argument with his copy editor resulted in the editor being the seventh person fired that day, and by then Donald had lost interest. And reports that two men resembling Trump Jr and Kushner were seen feeding a squirrel with some unknown substance in a room at Trump Tower are so far unsubstantiated. Kushner admitted to being fond of squirrels, but said he’d done nothing improper.

Monday, 24 July 2017

On Slugs and Sloping Off.

I sometimes wonder whether slugs are some kind of supernatural beings. I’ve often looked at the wall outside my office and seen that it was empty of all life save the odd housefly or wasp, and then looked again to see one or more slugs on the windowsill making for the rolled oats I put there for the birds.

How do they get there so quickly? They’re not exactly rivals of Usain Bolt, are they? I’ve considered that they might be disguised Klingons utilizing their cloaking device, but dismissed the idea as lacking credibility. I’m more inclined to stick with the safer theory that they’re ghosts of human nose droppings come to take revenge by eating our cabbages and bird food.

*  *  *

My sometime acquaintance, Chelsea, has been conspicuous by her absence for several weeks, but today she was back.

‘You’ve been missing,’ I said. ‘Where’ve you been?’


‘Where to?’

‘Around the world.’

‘Was it expensive?’

‘Not really.’

‘Are you going to tell me about it when you’re less busy?’


Now, said Chelsea used to have the sort of exceptional but restrained personality which only exceptionally perceptive people like me get to recognise, but today it was about 500% bigger. I knew the same thing happen once to another sometime acquaintance who travelled the globe. She went from being a pleasant but shrinking violet to someone with a personality which filled the room.

So there you have it: if you want to expand your personality, take the world tour. Only do it on the cheap; don’t do it on a cruise ship. Those things are designed to set your feet even more firmly in suburban concrete.

(And Chelsea also said that she was finding it difficult to re-acclimatize herself to being a wage slave. So that’s something else to watch out for.)


What am I going to do about the priestess? The current score of our last eleven items of correspondence reads:

JJ 11 : Priestess 0

How do I know she isn’t taking the corporate ladder seriously and feels that I don’t belong in such exalted circles? How do I know she hasn’t been eaten by a shark or rabid wombat? How do I know she hasn’t changed her mind about being Most Beloved and Esteemed Empress next time round? I don’t, do I?

Priestesses do this sort of thing. One minute they’re talking to you, and then all is silence and you find that they’ve disappeared down some track going heaven knows where.

Is this her latest lesson? Patience is a virtue.

*  *  *

And while I’m on the subject of the high Romantic tradition (sort of) I came across a Kate Rusby track recently called The Elfin Knight. I haven’t heard it yet, but you can if you want to. It’s here:

  My first thought on reading the title was:

If I could be an elfin knight
I’d say ‘Oh no, not that’
Too many fears
Those pointy ears
Would make me feel a prat

Why don’t I just get a Facebook account and a smart phone like everybody else?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

My Slug Theory.

When I came down from my shower tonight there was a slug and an earthworm on the kitchen floor. I always get slugs in the kitchen on wet nights in summer.

(There were two baby frogs once. Catching them and putting them out in the early hours of the morning – under the influence, even – was fun. But back to slugs…)

I wouldn’t mind slugs so much if they weren’t so slimy. You can’t pick them up without spending the next half hour trying to get the yellow slime off you fingers, which is why I imagine they started their evolutionary path from something that dripped from a humanoid’s runny nose. Why didn’t they do the civilised thing like snails and grow shells?

Because then they wouldn’t be slugs?

Mmm… Needless to say I wouldn’t knowingly do one any harm. And rescuing earthworms reminds me of happier days.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Being Careful.

What does one do when the sky glowers, the temperature drops, the rain falls, the body feels fatigued, and the mind is torpid from the want of something to seek? Walk the lanes alone and glum because there's no longer any hope of bumping into the two favourite ladies?

I think I need the entrance onto my stage of some intriguing and exhilarating new character, offering no threat or ill will but bearing the magic wand of beauty, mystery and benevolence.

I don’t wish it, of course. I only ever wish things for others, never for myself. Wish fulfilment can be an unpredictable business and regret is always too late.

The Fascinating Future of Mr Twitterfreak.

As Baby Donald continues to slither and slide in his own mess, I was interested to read this in a BBC World News report:

Mr Trump also said he had "complete power" to pardon, amid reports he was considering presidential pardons for family members, aides and even himself in response to the Russian investigation.

This is fascinating and disturbing stuff. It seems that – as earlier postulated – America now has a dictator at the helm.

I don’t suppose Donald has even heard of the English Civil War, much less have any knowledge of its causes and eventual outcome. But maybe he should look into it because Charles I also believed in the Divine Right of Kings, and seven years after it was put to the test he became the only monarch in English history to be judicially executed.

Will Trump still be there in seven years time? Will it take the military to remove him? Will he use his wealth to bribe the top brass? Or will he play fair and merely contrive to re-arrange the system so as to win the next election by foul means if fair ones won’t do.

Fanciful? Probably. But who knows the real nature of Donald Trump? At times he seems to be a very dangerous man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. On the other hand, some of his weak tweets and avoidance tactics suggest that he might just be a paper tiger. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a crystal ball and look four years into the future?

On a Musical Gulf.

Just because I’ve listened to a couple of Vedic mantras on YouTube recently, the Google machine seems to think I want to be inundated with recommendations for ‘relaxing New Age music that will enrich your soul’ – or variations on the same silly theme.

I’ve listened to some of it in the past, and it never failed to have the same effect as drinking a cup of hot water with ten spoons of sugar, when what I’d asked for was a cup of strong, unadulterated Lapsang Souchong. There’s a big, big difference between ‘relaxing’ (but utterly syrupy) New Age music written for the commercial market and repeated on YouTube, and authentic Vedic mantras. The difference should be immediately apparent to a chimpanzee with an Id the size of Africa.

Why don’t the uploaders understand that? Why doesn’t Google understand that? Why do the people who assume the role of purveying music to a hungry public so routinely fail to comprehend the depth of the human psyche?

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Wraith of the Lady B.

(Wouldn’t that make a good title for a short story? It would.)

I was standing under the roof of my porch this evening, sheltering from the rain which was uncomfortably heavy considering the fact that my coat gets easily soaked and takes three days to dry. The twilight was as atmospheric as usual, but the water was a bit too wet.

So there I was, feeling the atmosphere and listening to the rain beating down my plants, when I suddenly and unaccountably saw the Lady B standing on the lane looking up the garden at me. It was the real Lady B all right; she looked just the same as she did before her human alter-ego became a beautiful woman and abandoned her.

’Twas the ghost of the Lady B, no less!

OK, so maybe I’m being fanciful. It was, admittedly, only a fleeting glimpse, but the sense was very strong and I do suspect that inner senses can sometimes tell us things which the normal faculties are quite incapable of recognising.

You say I killed you. Haunt me then!
~ Heathcliff.

No, it isn’t quite that bad. Emily made me say it.

The Religion Effect.

Last night I listened to one of the Vedic mantras that Tina Turner has recently been recording, and then read all the comments appended to it.The song and video were fine; it was the comments which caused me disquiet.

I attach high credence to much of what the Vedic school professes, but it troubles me that when people chose to align themselves with a particular religious tradition they turn into simpering acolytes and start talking in platitudes and highly presumptuous certainties. They become helpless followers who believe what they’re told to believe, and think that by using weak, quasi-spiritual language they’re expressing knowledge, wisdom and a superior position. They claim to have found the truth, when what they’ve really done is joined a different queue at the lucky dip bazaar.

Oh powers-that-be, let me remain a cynic and searcher who knows nothing which can’t be proved or at least personally and convincingly experienced; who believes nothing because belief has no substance; who attaches levels of credence based on instinct and the available evidence; who follows a road based on intuition because I am probably as much a part of the ultimate God as every other iota of existence and feel that worshipping myself would be as silly as worshipping anything else; who strives to live life in accordance with ethical principles which shouldn’t need to be taught, even if it takes time to discover them. And then hope I’m on the right road.

And the bottom line has to be that I might be wrong.

The Mouse Conundrum.

Every night when I go out at more or less the same time to fetch the bird feeders in, a mouse runs across the path and disappears into the undergrowth at the side of the lawn. You wouldn’t think mice would be creatures of habit, would you? Do mice get OCD, or has a few million years of evolution provided them with quartz watches at last?