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Collected editorials

Strolling down memory lane

Clearing out dead wood

Of late I have taken to clearing out dead wood. The family mansion (for suitably modest versions of mansion) sits on two and a half acres of prime prairie in which I practice gardening and other vices best not described in documents that the authorities might accidently read.

The southern half of the ground is occupied by a grove of trees. This was planted quite some ago as a shelter belt, a little grove of trees that breaks the wind and catches the worst of the blowing snow. Planting trees around homesteads is popular in these parts. Besides providing some defense against the elements they also provide some scenery besides brown grass and cow patties in the barnyard.

Over time dead wood has accumulated. It does that, you know. Trees are not immortal and incorruptible; the bough that bends sometimes breaks. A shelter belt begins life as a grove of young trees. In time they grow mighty. And with time twigs, then branches, and even whole trees crash and fall, until there is deadwood every where. The local fauna appreciates this; it makes for all sorts of hidey holes. However it rather makes for a mess.

The question is: What to do about the mess? One solution is to bulldoze it all down and start over. I don’t much like this solution. I am fond of my little patch of woods. The Large Black Dog is also fond of it. He happily searches out rabbits who seldom are in any danger from him and rousts out pheasants who make indignant noises as they fly away.

So it is that I am engaged in pulling out fallen branches and trees and piling them up for later disposal. This project will take quite some time; that’s alright, I need the exercise. Sometime in this coming year I will plant some new trees and bushes.

I opine that a person’s life is like my little bit of woods. When you are young your thoughts, interests, relationships, and possessions expand. Over time, however, deadwood accumulates in the form of interests no longer pursued, possessions migrating to storage that is never opened, and relationships altered as people live, die, and change. The young have no need of pruning deadwood. The, ah, mature do. If one does not clear deadwood from time to time, it accumulates until a once living wood becomes a dead wood.

Of course none of this applies to web sites.

Christmas Wine

Our Lady of The Large Black Dog and I have been known to be fond of a glass of wine now and then. This is a great source of amusement to her brother Brady, who raises cattle and large children on the Pompadour Hills ranch. Two years he chose to give me a large bottle of Mogen David Cherry wine for Christmas. His wife Wendi pasted a hand written note on it that reads “Richard – Brady figured this would be one of those rare vintages you’d never want to open.” He was certainly right; it remains unopened, waiting for the right occasion. I dunno when it will be, though. What with global warming and such, I reckon that Hell is not going to freeze over very soon.

This Christmas I got my revenge. I took a bottle of wine and emptied in the normal manner. I soaked the label off of the now empty bottle. I went to the computer and produced the label that you see to the right. I then filled it with an amber liquid appropriate to the occasion, stuffed a cork into the top as best I could, put the bottle in a fancy wine tube, and wrapped it up.

I reckon that Brady will finish his bottle of wine about the same time as I finish mine.

And pigs

My cousin and his wife gave me a small statue of a squinty eyed pig. It is really cute if you are into squinty eyed pigs. I think that they are trying to tell me something, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know what it is.

Updated San Spec

I’ve updated the San language spec, filling in the flow control section. I’ve corrected a number of typos and other small infelicities. The section on agents is a shambles but I’m working on it. There is a new section on expressions that has yet to be written. And I have a bunch of new ideas that I haven’t nailed down yet.

2004 site statistics

The site statistics for 2004 are:

Visitors 589,104
Pages served 1,370,389
Hits 2,238,775
Bytes sent 1.41 Gbyte

This page was last updated January 1, 2005.
It was reformatted and moved October 16, 2006

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Collected editorials