Friday, July 31, 2009


This is the trailer for "The Cove," a covertly filmed documentary about the notorious Japanese seacoast town where an annual massive slaughter of dolphins takes place as secretly as possible. The locals are sensitive about it, as guilty folks often are.

"Winner of audience awards across the world, including Sundance, SilverDocs and Hot Docs, The Cove follows a team of activists and filmmakers as they infiltrate a heavily-guarded cove in Taiji, Japan. In this remote village they witness and document activities deliberately being hidden from the public: More than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are being slaughtered each year and their meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is being sold as food in Japan, often times labeled as whale meat." Take Part

Earlier PLM posts about Taiji

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Long ago, during my formative years on the other side of the world, I was chased off of who but god could know how many lawns by how many cane-wielding fogeys, out of how many vegetable gardens and melon patches by how many shotgun-wielding fogeys, and down out of how many fruit trees by how many pruning-shear-wielding fogeys, across the length and breadth of my beloved hometown and even in other towns and states as time led me on through the fogic realms, and in every instance a major aspect of fleeing said pursuit was the complete incomprehensibility to me regarding the fogic rationale, the sheer, blind fogicity of a person that would chase someone who was having so much football fun on a lawn off that lawn, in that garden out of that garden, or in that tree out of that tree, where the vegetables and fruits were far better, not to mention cheaper and healthier, than anything you could get in any market, and taste right off the tree forget it!

Why would anyone deprive another, especially an innocent young kid, of such all-too-brief bites of Eden? The fact was, as I now understand, that as an inexperienced youngster I lacked perception of the more complex elements of fogification that are now as clear as buckshot. And all this in a foreign land! It all came together for me this very morning, here on this far side of the world, as I was eyeing some kids who were too near someone’s garden down in the village, when I suddenly realized I was doing something I never in my wildest dreams expected I would do ever in my life: I was fogifying! Albeit vicariously.

I can’t tell you what a shock this was: me, the Billy the Kid of apple trees, the Jesse James of watermelons, the Babyface Nelson of honeydews, had somehow unknowingly entered full-blown fogeyhood! The funny thing is that I hadn’t known fogification was an organic process, a stage in one’s growth, a fully natural state into which one evolves, if one has a garden. When, as a grass-stained child, tomatoes or apples in hands or melons in arms I’d fled those Eden-destroying fogeys, I never thought the fogic state would one day be mine. Nor had I known how much fun it is to fogify, the fun now being covertly expressed, since it is patently counterproductive to chase kids away with a smile on your face.

In my fresh and steadily deepening understanding of these arcane matters, I feel that am now fully qualified on all counts, fogifically speaking, mainly on the basis of age and a general commensurate irritability regarding my growing perception of the fruitless foistiness, ruthless raucousness and wayward wastefulness of marauding youth. In other words, by virtue of some cosmic evolutionary intention, I am now capable of professional level fogification. But can I expect true fogific fulfillment here in Japan, where the children are so polite and considerate, and would never think of steal— enjoying another person’s garden produce?

If I do develop a lush orchard and garden, will Japanese kids come and run rampantly enough for me to chase them away in the grand fogey tradition? More likely I’d have to hire them. Better them than the monkeys I have now, who know nothing of the property rights that are essential to fogeydom. Perhaps fogeydom is more of a Western thing. Still, it might be worth a try; it is my turn, after all.

So now, in addition to fun-minded kids, all I need is a lushly productive garden and a good variety of heavily bearing fruit trees. Are you listening, god?

Monday, July 27, 2009


While shopping in the farm store for other things a few weeks ago, Echo happened to pick up a butternut squash plant for the garden. She did so in all innocence, for some reason thinking of the vegetable as the string squash of the kind we enjoyed so much last year, not as the butternut squash we had last year that she didn't like because she was expecting a Japanese pumpkin sort of flavor.

I, on the other hand, also in innocence - yes, there are still some aspects of life in which I can claim a degree thereof - have never grown butternut squash, though at the upstate roadside farm stands back in the autumns of my NY days I always bought a basketful of butternuts to take home and bake, stuff, cube and then devour with a big smile. In the matter of said innocence, though, as I say I have never grown them, or even seen them growing; they were an esoteric vegetable way back when I was a young wild kidling wandering the farm fields.

So I was expecting sort of a zucchini kind of growth arrangement, rather bushy but tolerably compact, in my small garden. I was not expecting The Day of the Triffids. You should see that thing. It is taking over, and is heading for the house. It has commandeered the net fencing on that side, along with the cooperative sunflower stems, is tendriling relentlessly among the shy Moroccan beans, has overrun the remaining turnips and is infiltrating the tomatoes and claiming the gobo even as I speak, but it is a beauty, that plant, those big hefty dark-green leaves, and those blossoms, big as a dinner plate (superb for tempura and more!), half of them based with a pale green mini-butternut squash all ready to get started (they're the model for the Navajo squash blossom wedding necklaces!), just waiting for the ants and moths and butterflies or me if its raining.

And it has been raining, day after day, since 2007 I think, so there aren't many pollinators about, hence the 'me.' Yes, I have been pollinating the blossoms with a stem of grass and as little eroticism as possible, there are limits to things like that, and as soon as the sun comes back with the bees et al., I am out of the picture.

In any case, I'd rather have the vast plant thinking positively of me when it reaches the house.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


O homely spud
muddied orphan
lumpish ragamuffin
from the far side of the furrows,
poor relation to noble Eggplant
Cardinal Tomato
Magical Mandrake
and elegant Belladonna,
though often mistaken
for a clod of dirt
you have a soul as pure
as any Irish saint's -
you send up for blossoms
white stars from the ground.

O subterranean emissary
friend to the poor
when helped from your homespun jacket
you are welcomed as well
by the well-to-do
who love your symphonies of starch
your crisp gold coins,
invite you to their tables
as formal white companion
to the tawny mignon.

O egalitarian tuber
like us you are a child of earth,
that yet contains the stuff of heaven -
when mashed into clouds
with a bit of cream,
the peaks you achieve
from such lowly beginnings
nourish and inspire us all.

Friday, July 24, 2009


"In fact, Japan has been so successful at keeping costs down that Japan now spends too little on health care; half of the hospitals in Japan are operating in the red."

Funny, how amidst all the socioeconohealth babble now ongoing in the attempt at a health care cure, I rarely hear from a suited authority even a whisper of the word "prevention" in its full meaning, which if promulgated properly and put into practice from (before!) birth and early education, would cut medical costs and expenditures by huge amounts, to the betterment of any nation. But if disease Prevention were the major focus of national health care, the big med lobby (health care, pharmaceuticals, health insurance etc.) would have to undergo some major surgery of its own, as would the halls of government...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


In a previous millennium, not long after I had come to Japan and seen how different the news was over here from what it had been back home, where Japan was still not quite above suspicion as an ally (and never will be, in some still-living minds), I was experiencing what every traveler senses at every international transit: that borders determine news, and that all news is local. Every seasoned border-crosser knows how the truth changes when that judicial interface is passed, how the victims on one side become the murderers on the other. But this was all rather subconsciously perceived by me at the time, amid the swarm of new information travel stirs up.

I guess that’s why not long after I arrived in Tokyo I had a dream in which as a dream novice monk I asked my dream abbot the koan “What is media?” and he responded “The cloud resembles a rabbit,” which phrase was floating homeless in my newly alien brain as I awoke. I thought it a rather silly answer at the time; but then, I was only a novice alien dream monk.

Since then I’ve traveled more, and have seen and heard more news here and there and elsewhere from an increasingly alien perspective, and have observed how difficult it can be for a local to maintain a healthy skepticism while immersed in a sea of information served up by ‘trained’ and ‘qualified’ professionals who are actually ‘on the spot’. It seems most people never travel ‘far’ enough to gain such perspective, and never see how profoundly their own borders alter news, and so general populaces tend to trust their media, which by definition stand between the seeker and the truth.

Once upon a time, when there was nothing between us and reality, when rock or tree or flower or wind or stream was as real as our imagining – when we were inseparate from the actuality around us-- our hands were easily water, our eyes easily sky, our hearts easily fire. Long before there were media standing dutifully in our light, or streaming through the air in disembodied voices or faces, or sheets of paper covered with words from minds, times and places we can never know or be in; before we began to indulge in the narcissistic addiction of setting ourselves up to believe even history was true as told to us, subsequently relying on second, third and fourth-hand accounts of events to keep us abreast of things we didn’t really have a clue about except this or that smidgeon afforded us by an unknown and elsewhere accredited committee, thus collectively aspiring to the dangerous illusion that bides at the heart of modern society, i. e., that we actually have a handle on what is going on around the world even now – as I say, before all these veils came to be (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain), we saw no separation between ourselves and the world around us, had as yet created no distinction, no palisades of faith, no moats of patriotism, no need for better and better weapons and the right to bear them, no seeds of distrust, no doubting the very air.

Environed as we are now by information and its aftereffects, with billboards on our eyeballs and pixels in our faces, new stars in the sky and etherwaves sectoring our very bodies, all we need is the internet. How crucial it has become, then, that we revive and maintain our ancient skepticism, our own intelligence, as we carom like corks down the whitewater rapids of data directed by experts. So gain perspective: look at a tree if you can find one, and remember the roots; or at least look up at a patch of sky and remember that the cloud resembles a rabbit.

One of my Rambles, From Kyoto Journal #46

Monday, July 20, 2009


Yesterday while waiting for the morning train I saw a perky wagtail feeding off the dead bugs on the windshield of a car down in the train parking lot; he followed the meal of bugs across the windshield, then hopped onto the side mirror and down to the side window, where he found more bugs, then turned around and saw another male wagtail right in his face; both birds made threatening head gestures, then the first wagtail leaped flapping to the attack atop the mirror and-- the stranger was gone.

The victor stood there atop the mirror in full-feathered righteousness, strutting in a swellchested wagtail way, looking around in confidence as if to say "Sure scared that guy, never saw anybird disappear so fast." Contented and proud, after checking once more to make sure that the stranger was gone, Master Wagtail returned in confidence to his side widow to continue feeding, turned around, and damned if that very same stranger wasn't right there again, as though he hadn't just been chased clear out of sight by the master himself!!

Once more to the attack, a little more squawkily ferocious this time-- and once more, just as the master pounced, the intruder instantly disappeared. The puzzled victor stood atop the mirror searching everywhere to make absolutely sure the interloper was definitely gone this time, then back to the window, turn around, SQUAWK!!! stranger again, attack, disappear, over and over and over into a black-and-white feather-flying frenzy. The invader could only be driven away for a moment to some incomprehensible place, before he came instantly back!

'How DOES he do that,' the wagtail seemed to ponder in a deeply wagtailian way each time he stood in dubious victory atop the mirror, looking everywhere only to find that he was absolutely for certain and without a doubt the only wagtail within at least a kilometer; then back to the bugs and there was the stranger right in his face again, no rest for the would-be feeder with the very big and ungraspable dilemma, who went on thus ignoring his meal in preference to territorial battle: up, down, up, down in front of the mirror feisty as all get out until my train came.

This morning when I checked the parking lot, I saw that the mirror had successfully defended its territory.

From July 2002 archives

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Motorcycling upmountain through the forest to visit Mr. H., I suddenly came upon a dense excursion of monkey mamas and their babies and kids crossing the road, looked like on the way to my place, the simians totally foregoing such frivolous forms of education as kindergarten and grade school, to say nothing of high school and university, what good are such time wastings when you have mountains of forests at your disposal, and no conscience?

They prefer to just get right on with teaching the facts of living to the kids directly - their version of home education - so they take the wee ones out the minute they're born and begin showing them all that they are heir to, in the present case the reaches of their forests and the sudden weird surprises of this other species, the delicious-food providers, moving noisily along only this narrow flat hard thing that runs through the middle of the world, the mostly hairless creature traveling not on legs and paws but on round things that... that... go around at each end and make this noise like an angry male, it's incomprehensible, really, but there it is--

How in the world do the mother-teachers describe to their ministudents an asphalt road traversed by a motorcycle with a vegetable and fruit provider on it? No wonder the little critters are so wide-eyed as I whiz by, those huge brown eyes-- I mean swinging on a vine is ok, sure, but this rapid noisy creature is bizarrely amazing--

As I blur by the mamas are probably saying something like: That's one of our providers. Soon we'll be getting to his garden, you must be sure remember the place, where you can get all sorts of delicious vegetables and fruits at this time of year. You have to be sure to remember what gardens look like, they're special places, where the most interesting things are planted for us by strange, wheeled creatures, like that one that just went by, its a symbiotic relationship we have. They grow these delicious summer and fall foods for us and we give them a reason to live; its all cosmically determined. Here it is. See those nice tomatoes? I had some delicious carrots and potatoes here, just last week, before you were born! You'll soon learn what those are!

As for me, the human in all this, I can't be everywhere. Which I guess is somehow the big operative idea.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I'd finished prepping the next spinach plot and was sitting on the deck sipping coffee as an early evening thunderstorm approached, when Warbler all of a sudden, out of the depths of one of the big cedars close by the deck, commenced at top volume right in my ear his usual late afternoon declamation as to the general condition of his pre-eminent life and the state of his extensive territorial possessions.

As he announced to all and sundry on the mountainside the usual long list of splendid stuff in that amazing way he has, I responded to each item by whistling in my crude Warblerese a few of my favorite blues riffs (I can be such a pain, birdwise), each of which W pointedly ignored, continuing in his usual manner, at least until I did a few bars from Boogie, Chillun by the eminent John Lee Hooker.

Upon hearing that, Warbler paused, whether in awe or some degree of self-doubt it's hard to say. He then resumed in what seemed like halfhearted confusion, as though certain of his territory was not so vast after all. He made no attempt, though, to fit even a bit of John Lee into the warbly repertoire, which would be neat beyond belief, and news around the world, but what do warblers care for fame. After a few tries to regain his composure he flew off to another corner of his realm and began again in the old way.

Some forms of life are more conservative than others, but it's always worth a try.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Just click on the picture
and keep on scrolling...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It was clearly a crude simian that invaded my garden briefly on Friday while I was at the office, as I discovered on Saturday morning; so very unlike the sophisticated Littlefoot, who purloins so neatly and considerately.

Judging from the vegetoforensic results I obtained in the aftermath, this hairy clod pulled up a baby carrot, just looked at it, threw it on the ground saying I don't want little carrots, I want big carrots, don't you know who I am, then did it again and again until there were no more upsetting carrots in the ground, they were now all over the place uneaten, then he spotted a largish green tomato in there among lush tomato vines, pulled apart the vines, grabbed the tomato, ripped it off the vine and broke other vines too this way and that, looked at and bit the tomato, threw it on the ground at his feet and said ptah, I don't want a hard, green tomato, I want a juicy, red tomato didn't anybody know I was coming, this garden sucks, where are the tomatoes and carrots I deserve, somebody better do something about this, and tore up some more tomato vines, threw them around, crudely elbowed the tall, slim and unoffending sunflowers aside while coming and going, like he was using a Tokyo subway or something, crassly leaving the innocent flowers toppled in situ-- no class, no sense of order or discipline, no concept of neatness, no pride in one's species and culture-- so unlike the elegant thief Littlefoot, the Cary Grant of simians.

This was just a lowlife, uncultured simian brigand, gaucher than you can get even in Hollywood-- what some apes call forest trash. Or so I hear.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


As I was driving back from town this morning, the trailer truck ahead of me that might have had no brakes because it had no brake lights recalled to me that day in Spain when I was fixing the brakes on the SEAT, had the brake system completely dismantled and found out I'd need a special wrench to finish the job, so without a second thought I jumped in the brakeless car and drove the long narrow winding dirt road out to the local winding paved road, then along that winding upward over the mountain and winding down to and through the village, thence along the faster highway to the narrow roads of the nearest town where there was a hardware store, found a parking spot on the street nearby, pulled over brakeless to the curb and parked, went in and got the wrench, then drove home again and finished fixing the brakes.

From the vantage of 30 years later I couldn't believe I'd been willing and able to do such a thing without a qualm, and survive to recall it.

The past is fuller of miracles the longer it gets.

Friday, July 10, 2009


In the village just one stop up the line, right near the train station, you know, across the street from the side of the store where they have that big sign on top you can see from the train, is the clinic where I get my leg galvanized.

I say galvanized because it reminds me of Galvani's experiment with the dead frog, the way it jumped around, proving as I recall that dead frogs can run on batteries. The doctor sticks a bunch of electric needles in my thigh and hooks them to a close-encounters-of-the-third-kind kind of machine that beeps and boops and wawas, then he turns it up and my leg does Afternoon of a Faun for 15 or 20 minutes all on its own, while I lay there not lifting a finger.

It's very entertaining in a bizarre way, dancing without dancing, gives me a new view on pain, that pain doesn't actually hurt, it's only an abstraction generated by a nerve that's trying to make you think the pain is real, so as long as you don't believe the nerve it doesn't hurt, which does wonders as long as it isn't something that really hurts.

Like this leg. Which came to require galvanization as a result of my tossing about full-length roofbeams as though I were still of roofbeam-tossing age and hadn't recently spent two decades tossing no roofbeams at all in an office chair, birthplace of the other-directed spinal disc. This isn't really relevant to what I'm trying to get at here except in that it points out the age-related stuff that awaits us all as we approach the nether gate with the gaudy wreaths and the portrait photograph we didn't like in life.

But before I get there, it's quite a revelation to find out that my own body, the very body with which only 30 years ago I laughed blithely among other ignorant youths at the idea of getting old, is now showing me in painstaking detail that I didn't know jack, and why grandpa walked the way he did, and how a cane can make a lot of sense. And I realize grandpa's patience in not moaning all the time, the way I do.

Anyway what I'm trying to get at here, if I can just get a word in edgewise, is that when I arrive at the clinic early on a Wednesday or Saturday, my regular galvanizing days, the waiting room is packed and I, at age 55, am far the youngest one there. The average age is maybe 80, both men and women, though mostly women, since men tend to burn out faster, having lifestyles more generally like mine; but this group is fun to be around. What energy! Much more purely i.e., cosmically focused energy than a bunch of 50 year-olds.

Two sweet, cute elderly country ladies sitting there, feet primly together, probably approaching ninety, been tots together at the dawn of the century, grew up together in what was then a remote little fishing village way across the mountains from big city Kyoto, shared eight decades and more, now sitting there talking and laughing and carrying on and in comes another lady, one of their classmates, they used to hang around together on whatever was the equivalent of streetcorners in 1910 or so, and she comes and sits down and picks up the conversation right where it left off, they know EVERYTHING about each other, no need even to say hello, really, though they do, out of habit, then point to elbows and shoulders and knees and hips and backs, flexing and poking and talking about sleep and telling how it is since yesterday, and another day another lady in her 80's, a hearty laugh, cute as a netsuke and bright as a blossom, sat there hunched over in the waiting room squinting closeup at a video of the cataract surgical procedure she'd be going through in a day or two, nearby an elderly man she probably remembers as a dashing young eligible bachelor also watching saying you going to have surgery and she laughs says yes, I'll be able to see! Laughs, what a laugh, laughs again, from the gut after eight decades, what power, the size of her future has nothing to do with her joy, much more positive a feeling to me here in a roomful of physical complaints than dropping in at the local high school, where future is measured in centuries.

One farmer lady, must be close to 80, strong white real-teeth smile, black hair, skin like a baby, beautiful, what a knockout she must have been in the knockout days, that was the real strength of this country I guess all countries, these women and all they have wrought, of families and homes, childbearing and caring and gentle strength, yet despite it all so unsung now, even seen as a burden and put apart, unheeded by the new and flaccid young, who seem to want only each other.

Another couple, the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas of the waiting room, Gertrude big and deep-voiced with natty tweed suitcoat, Alice slight with a man's haircut, vest and pants; they must be in their 70's, a lot of waiting roomers know them, especially the laughing old man, who says something funny at every breath I wish I could follow the 70-years-ago dialect he talks so fast, as the humorous do, and with all those antique curls and twangs and run-togethers no one around here talks like that now except those his age, so I miss the jokes but anyway get the laughter.

Bent of back and still smiling, what power they all have, and the all that they have seen, and what good fortune for their families to have them, for they've clearly come here from home, have them to give advice on the kids and how to make pickles and how it really was and how to do things the way time has taught, how to make it into the future and keep on laughing the way they've always done and why, and how sad for those who have no such elders around to wrap them in the arms of the past, give roots to the children, and one day it hit me why every time I went to the clinic I was feeling this rush, and I realized I had never maybe in my life been so much among so many elders at once, and that it seems they only hang around with each other anymore, and it's not fair that I and all of us have been deprived all these years of what these elders are meant to do and be for us, regardless of language; I have not been AMONG elders in so long, I hadn't known what a charge it would be, hadn't known what it meant, what was missing from my life; and these elders not even at their best but at the doctor's, probably actually an important part of the social circuit for folks their age; and as they get fewer, the happier they are to see each other.

They know what life means at last, and you've got to live it to find out. I've been so long among folks my own age, who don't know anything about the years that are coming, and these elders have already been there and gone, and are still smiling and laughing and having a grand time, and it's good to know that it can be done, even if I don't make it to the clinic in 2020.

[PLM Archives, July 2002]

Thursday, July 09, 2009


A week or so ago I noticed a vigorous plant emerging from the edge of the compost pile, it was thick and vigorous, likely an opportunistic pumpkin or some kind of melon, though the leaves seem too big and the plant itself too largish for a canteloupe-type melon; watermelon maybe? In any case, I have never seen a plant that was healthier, and happier to be whatever it is.

Its seeds were thrown out with the kitchen garbage sometime during the last year, and just one of them waited patiently in the perfectly moist warmth and optimal nutrition of natural compost to make its long green sinuous statement across the top of the mouldering leaves, clinging to net here, curlicuing to pole there, bamboo stalk there, probably climb the cherry tree as well, before too long...

No sign yet of a fruiting body and not even an open flower (my butternut squash plants in the garden proper, about the same age, are already showing mini-squashes beneath nascent blossoms) on what looks like a mature plant-- it seems to grow a couple feet in length each day, reaching from its starting point at the front corner of the compost pile (contained in a square by a net, one side open) as it twines through and through and over the net, heading south toward where the most sun is-- being by nature hardy to begin with, the sole survivor from a large family of original seeds.

Also, since it's growing outside my soon-to-be-electrified garden fence, I'm curious to find out what kind of fruit the monkeys will get.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Music of the sun...
of first plum

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


By Wednesday the ripening plums had hung there long enough. I was surprised to have gotten away with it thus far this year, given the quantity of fragrant plums and the precise plum awareness of monkeys in years past, when simians all around had "Brady Plums Ready" clearly marked in their organizers. So even though it was raining hard I got the ladder and harvested all the plums that were even slightly ripe, put them in a big basket by the window in the living room to finish ripening. I left the half dozen or so still fully green ones on the tree, to get on Saturday.

On Thursday and Friday I worked in the big city, coming back after dark, so it wasn't until Saturday morning that I went out on the deck to check the green plums and saw a row of well-chewed plum pits arranged along the deck railing and no plums left on the tree. Later, when I went out into the garden, I found that the potato patch had been dug up, and one patch of baby carrots had been plucked and eaten. Oddly enough, though, it was all done very neatly.

In the potato patch it looked as though the perp, more than seeking potatoes, had enjoyed the sensation of digging in the dirt and pulling up the plants, which were not tossed monkily everywhere, but merely laid down neatly at the edge of the patch, with many of the potatoes left showing in the dirt, only a couple of the small ones eaten; there were none with big bites taken out and then just tossed aside anywhere as per monkey behavioral norms. The baby carrots as well had been neatly pulled up, one by one (not in handfuls!), they'd been neatly bitten off and neatly laid out on the ground with all the carrot leaves in one direction, making a nicely arranged pile, quite convenient for me to gather and carry to the compost heap.

The ready-to-eat turnips right next to the potatoes were completely untouched (not ripped up and tossed around just for the hell of it, like at a monkey garden party)-- as were the ready green beans, though the perp had apparently napped atop a couple of the plants. He had sampled but one little green tomato, not tossing every single tomato everywhere as if angry at their unreadiness and then pulling up the plants for the simian inyerface anarchy of it all. The tomatoes were otherwise untouched.

In fact, the perp had done a lot of potato digging work for me; it took but a few moments to harvest the remainder (98%!) (and the biggest!) of the potatoes; in light of this, it's beginning to appear as though the polite perp might in fact have waited for me to harvest the distinctly ripe and fragrant plums, which had hung there for some days(!), and had then eaten the few unripe ones remaining, leaving the pits for me to find... Littlefoot, you are a strange one... So fastidious, with a bit of integrity, even somewhat honest... We could use a few like you on Wall Street... Anyway, better there than here... With my tomatoes and pumpkins now emerging, it's time to implement Plan T...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

From the archives--


With all the tremendous scientific advances that have been raining down on us lately it won't be long before the men in the white coats come to ring my doorbell and offer me immortality in exchange for 50% of my lifetime earnings, which is more economical than my current health plan, but what shall I tell them, shall I say yes or no or that I need some time to think about it, time is what it's all about, they'll say.

I'll have a few questions, what about the end of the world for example, does this cover that, will I have to stay 57 forever and does this include dental work, but perhaps even more importantly, is immortality retroactive? If so, and if I choose to be, say, immortally 25, that wouldn't be much different from the immortality I recall feeling when I actually was 25, so not much gain there; on the other hand, my earnings would be much less at that age, ergo so would my immortality payments, would that be OK?

In fact, when I was 25 I was bumming around earning zilch, as we used to say, enjoying life as only the immortally hardwired ignorance of that transient age allows, but do I want to be there, innocent, footloose and penniless forever, I'd sure as hell rather not get back into that tangle with Virginia and her sister again, and all so angst-ridden-- I've mellowed quite a bit over subsequent decades, I must say-- survival and subsequence are quite nice, actually, so---no, definitely not 25.

But can I get quality subsequence out of being 57 for a thousand years, let alone forever? And what about my pension? Imagine the bill for reading glasses! Will I have this twinge forever that I get in cold weather? And what about cold weather, will there forever be cold weather? Even minimal utilities would add up to quite a sum over just the first millennium, and no doubt I'd have to keep this job, and commute forever, to pay for the kids' eternity in college...

On second thought, I think I'll just go to heaven.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Well the rest of the world may be in several kinds of doldrums, but over here in the Land of Wa things are looking up as of Wednesday, when Japan's new Kabutomushi (rhinoceros beetle) Sumo Champion was crowned in Nakayama.

I keep thinking maybe I should have entered, I have some pretty impressive kabutomushi up here on the mountain, especially around my compost pile. Last fall I posted some photos of my compost-fed kabutomushi larvae, any one of which coulda been a contenda, but I haven't managed any beetles since I was a kid; besides I've been busy recently with snakes and monkeys. Anyway, to join the Kabutomushi Sumo competition you have to be a kid I think, which though I still am in some ways, I think my pension probably would disqualify me.

Anyhow, the pressure of competition all came to a head yesterday in the final match when the pressure proved too much for favorite King Kabuto who, as he neared the top of the pole and was about to snatch a clear victory from the slower King Joe, threw the Championship and his career away by flying out of the arena entirely, giving up all the glitter of stardom for the simple comforts of home.

Personally, I think he made the right choice.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


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