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Collected editorials

Born under the sign of the Earth Pig

Born under the sign of the Earth Pig

According to an internet site (and when is the internet ever wrong?) someone born on the fourth of July is born under the sign of the Earth Pig, according to Chinese astrology:

  • Has no ambitions, lack sophistication and leads a simple but comfortable life.
  • Is also honest, trusthworthy with money and hardworking.
  • Is equally very tolerant with others but can get too personal and is sensitive and do not crack jokes at him or else he will feel it directly.
  • Earth pigs are popular and love good food and wine.

Earth pig is the English translation of Aardvark. Obviously people born on the fourth of July are under the protection of Saint Aardvark. These days everything has its own page; the page for Saint Aardvark the Carpeted is http://www.saintaardvarkthecarpeted.com/.

Some people, I suppose, know nothing of aardvarks. I am not exactly a fan of the Earth Pig, but I have some familiarity with them because of my friend Jack who was an aardvark rancher. Jack was an odd duck; he only had one interest outside of work, Japanese theater, and Noh plays in particular. In conversation these were the only two topics he would entertain. It was very boring.

I have always said that aardvark and Noh play made Jack a dull boy.

News from Spain

Police foil radio control zeppelin jailbreak

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish police said on Friday they had foiled an Italian drug trafficker’s plan to break out of jail in the Canary Islands using climbing equipment and a four-meter-long zeppelin.

“The plan consisted of using a remotely controlled zeppelin to bring him night-vision goggles and climbing equipment with which to escape,” a National Police statement said.

(Click on the headline for the rest of the story.)

Sue them all! Take no prisoners.

One of the objects of my endeavours has been the dismantling of reality. It seems I can retire. Reality is dismantling itself faster than I can keep up with it. In the latest news from the trenches Wells Fargo Bank is suing itself; it has even hired two separate law firms to handle each side of the suit.

How can this happen? It’s a matter of foreclosure law in Florida. Oh, foreclosure law. I’m not sure that foreclosure law qualifies as reality.

Anyway, what has happened is that one unit in Wells Fargo (the party of the first part) issued a first mortgage and another unit (the party of the second part) was part of a consortium (the party of the third part) holding a second mortgage. The party of the first part must by law notify all members of the party of the third part that they are foreclosing. They party of the first part desires that all members of the party of the third part must vacate their liens. (If that sounds dirty, you’re right, it is.) Okay with this so far. Now some members of the party of the third part may be dilatory about vacating their liens. Some don’t exist and some are on vacation. To expedite matters the party of the first part sues all members of the party of the third part to force them to vacate their liens. This is how the party of the first part ends up suing the party of the second part. Now the the party of the second part has a standard policy of defending itself against such suits because they want to collect a share of the proceeds of the foreclosure, if any. Is everything all clear now?

(Many thanks to the Marx Brothers for explaining how the legal system works.)

But really, how can anything this silly happen? It’s quite simple, really. The people in banks push paper and follow procedures. Thought is not necessary. Thought is not even wanted – thinking may compromise the integrity of the process.

Kafka was not just an author. Kafka was a prophet!

Drunk badger disrupts traffic in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – A badger in Germany got so drunk on over-ripe cherries it staggered into the middle of a road and refused to budge, police said Wednesday. A motorist called police near the central town of Goslar to report a dead badger on a road — only for officers to turn up and discover the animal alive and well, but drunk.

Police discovered the nocturnal beast had eaten cherries from a nearby tree which had turned to alcohol and given the badger diarrhoea. Having failed to scare the animal away, officers eventually chased it from the road with a broom.

I swear I don’t make this stuff up.

Death of a Garden

Monday, July 13, was quite a day for the community garden. It was lush with produce ready to be harvested. At noon we had a meeting of the garden committee. Plans were made to sell vegetables. People volunteered to pick and bag, and I volunteered to sell. We discussed a plan to accept vouchers from the food pantry. We discussed things we had learned this year and what we might do next year.

At 1pm I headed over to Pierre with the Large Black Dog to visit the veternarian. You begin to understand the nature of SD when you accept it as normal that you would make a 100 mile round trip to visit a vet. Bridger has a couple of growth bumps on his head that needed to be checked. It turns out that one of the growths is benign and the other may or may not be. The vet said to bring him back in three weeks and check him again.

Such are the trivia of life. I got back to Highmore about 4pm and stopped at Deb’s office so that she could visit with her pupsicakes. (Pupsicakes is her word; I’m not quite sure of the spelling because it doesn’t seem to be in the dictionary.) After the ceremonies of reunion were complete I offered to take Bridger to her place. As it chanced it started to rain a bit so I returned with him to my place instead.

It wasn’t raining hard but we both decided that it would be nice to be inside. Bridger cadged a treat and I sat down to check out the weather on TV. Then all Hell broke. The wind howled. The rain came down in sheets that went back and forth sidewise. The power failed. It always does that when I particularly need to know what the weather report is on TV. There was the usual thunder and lightning.

An hour later it was over and there was 1.6 inches of rain in the rain gauge. I was lucky. I didn’t get any hail and I didn’t have any trees come down. One mile to the north the hail zone began. The community garden is two miles north of me. It got hail, lots of hail. It got more rain than I did. It is no more. The tomatoes and lettuce are stripped. The zucchini was ravished. Rows of tomato plants were reduced to sticks. The field in which the garden stood was a flood plain.

That night it rained another inch. I guess we needed the rain. They say that pride cometh before a fall and so it was. We were proud of our garden and the hail fell.

Do not try this at home

Man tries to fix airbed, blows up apartment

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German who tried to fix his leaky air mattress blew up his apartment instead, the fire brigade in the western city of Duesseldorf said Wednesday.

This man is not a good candidate for doing home improvement projects.

The aunts arrive

It was that time of the year again. Every year the aunts arrive in Hyde County, much like sparrows coming to Capistrano and salmon swimming up the Columbia river. For those not familiar with this phenomenon of nature, the aunts in question are the aunts of Our Lady of the Large Black Dog, yclept Deborah Rinehart. Each year the four aunts (if you are Deborah) or the the four sisters (if you are Deborah’s papa, Harold Rinehart) or the four sisters in law (if you are Deborah’s mama, Marilyn Rinehart) arrive to commune with their brother and the raff and scaff that has accumulated around him over the years.

There are four of them (I shan’t go into the roll of Rinehart siblings, this being a family oriented web site or something like that), approximately yclept Lois, Marge, Edie, and Mary. I say “approximately” because I have a shrewd suspicion that there is more to their names than I have heard. I beg of my readers that they not fault me for not having included the full details – after all, by now they should have long since been reconciled to my failures in supplying full details, or indeed, any accurate details at all.

Be all of that as it may (and probably shouldn’t be) last year I made a few casual remarks in an editorial about their visit, a word or two or so. These were consumed with fascination (fascination is a condiment that is used in Scotland to flavor Haggis) to say nothing of horror. I haven’t heard the end of it. I also have been informed that not only has general exception been taken to my remarks, everyone expects more of the same. What can I do but relate the simple facts of the matter.

To begin with, although four sisters were scheduled to arrive, only three arrived. Despite what you might think, no salmon snatching bears migrate to South Dakota in search of Rinehart sisters. The truth is more prosaic. The four sisters planned to stay overnight in Mitchell (one of the larger towns in South Dakota that pretends to be a city) at a motel whose name I will leave carefully unmentioned. The desk clerk suggested that they go around in back to get in because their rooms were close to the back door.

Bad move. It seems that there were several steps up to the back door, steps that were not in the best of shape, steps that lacked a handrail. Sister Lois was climbing the steps, dragging her suitcase behind her, when she lost her balance, fell backwards, and broke her arm. She was duly taken to the local hospital. Her husband arrived to take her home the next day, and the remaining sisters proceeded onward to the home of their beloved brothers. Brothers, you say? Yes, brothers. Brother Lowell has a ranch in southern Hyde County where brother Harold had his in northern Hyde County. In this way they divided the county between them, leaving Highmore as neutral territory.

My faithful readers may recall that in their last the aunts stayed at the Grand Lodge. Apparently the Grand Lodge was not quite up to their standards so they stayed at the internationally famed Prairie View Motel. Some may cavil at “internationally famed” but I have readers around the world, some of whom may have seen mention of the motel as some point in their life.

The extended weekend passed peaceably enough. People sat around in the Rinehart Gazebo where they consumed a variety of noshes and liquids not commonly given to small children. Stories were told, some of which may actually been true. A good time was had by all.

During part of the time yours truly had a notebook with me, a notebook in which I was marking up a mysterious manuscript. There were pointed remarks and dark suspicions about my taking notes about their activities. At this point I wish to reassure them and such of my readers as may appear in my accounts. I never take notes; I have no need for them since I make up the details as I go along. The boring truth was that I was editing a book review that appears in this issue.

I would not have my readers believe that the aunts spent all of hours in the gazebo. They visited brother Lowell’s ranch and made a stop at Chez Harter to gaze at the latest stage of the renovation. It is my understanding that they made other visits, but I am not privy to the details.

In the fullness of time swallows leave Capistrano, salmon leave the Columbia River, and the aunts return to their native haunts. Capistrano misses the swallows; the Columbia River misses the salmon; and Hyde County misses the aunts.

Who is Peggy Varinoma?

As some of my readers have indignantly observed, I am fond of writing book reviews of books that were never written. There are advantages to this practice. For one thing it is less taxing. For another, many of these books never should be written. For another, establishing the existence of non-existent books is part of my campaign against reality.

Even non-existent books need publishers so I have also invented non-existent publishers. These include Barrymoor Books, Biodegrable Press, Burning Cross Publications, Gigantic Book Corporation of America, and Vanity Press Publications. My favorite by far, however, is Varinoma Press. People sometimes ask where I got Varinoma. The simple truth is that the name is one of my little inventions. It sounds like one of those diseases you hope you never get.

I even created a website for Varinoma Press, with offices in Oxnard and San Luis Obispo, two Californian cities that I also made up. Evidently varinoma is a virtual googlewhack, by which I mean the word appears nowhere on the web except in material I have created – with one exception. That exception is a web page which has an exchange of commnents about the safety of tanning beds. The URL is http://www.buzzle.com/comments/119332-1.html. In this page there is a comment from a Peggy Varinoma

The curious thing is that I can find no other reference to this Peggy Varinoma, or indeed any person with a surname of Varinoma. It occurs to me that somebody somewhere may have simply borrowed the name and used it for an invented commenter. There is some justice in this, poetic justice of a sort. Still, if the name is an invention, why is it only used once? Why is there no Luigi Varinoma, no Abdul Varinoma? I like to think that Peggy is real, at least as real as anything else on the internet. And if she is I really would really like to know:

Who is Peggy Varinoma?

This page was last updated July 2, 2009.

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Collected editorials