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Collected editorials

Dux inde dichez

The death of art

In ye olde days when we humans were hunter-gatherers who had not yet invented civilization, we had already invented art. Art was our ancestor.s way of relating to the supernatural, their way of understanding the world in which we live.

True art, art that exists and permeates the community, lives. The important thing about living art is that it is a part of life. Living art does not have a owner; the important thing about living art is that is shared, it is part of the communal experience.

When we invented civilization we developed ways to kill art, to make living art into dead art, and even to create art that was still born, dead at birth.

When art is owned, when it is locked away in museums and collections, it is dead. When the making of art is a profession, art dies. When art becomes mere decoration without a connection to the sacred, it dies. When even the sacred is converted into a commercial product, art dies.

This then is the triumph of civilization, to be able to create beauty without soul.

Waterfowl in the prairies

In the spring time, ah the precious spring time, the prairie pot holes are filled with water both from the spring melt and from the spring rains. The ditches by the sides of the roads also filled with water. This will last well into summer. In some years the summer rains suffice to keep water in the ditches well into the fall. We had such a year last year. We had another like it in the last millennium.

Migratory waterfowl appreciate this. Ducks and geese drop in and visit the local water holes in the course of their migrations from somewhere else to some other place else. Even the road side ditches will have visting birds. In other words:

We have dux inde dichez.

The obligations of icons

Once of an evening Our Lady of the Large Black Dog were watching Dancing with the Stars. We saw that the Chairman of Iron Chef America was one of the contestants. I remarked that he looked he looked much more human as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.

Our Lady agreed and then said, “I liked him much better the other way.”

I am sure she is right. Icons shold be chary about betraying their humanity

A Man of …

I might be a man of morals. I could be a good man. I could even do good things. It’s possible. People of excellent judgement in these matters have said so. A while back Suford and I discussed the difference between being good and doing good at length. Our discussion was never quite completed. It is my turn to continue the discussion, and I will some day. After all, I may or may not be a man of morals, but I am definitely a man of procrastinations. I will let others debate whether I am a man of morals. On the other hand, much to my surprise, I appear to be a man of morels.

The other day I went out to start mowing the lawn. At this time of the year one snatches chances to mow between the various little weather events that keep coming throught. With luck random events interfere with opportunities to mow. (Sometimes it takes considerable effort to arrange these random events.)

This time I got the north east patch done quickly. My lawns are divided into patches and areas. Thus there is the north east patch, the east lawn, the southern corridor, the west lawn, the far west lawn, the northwest area, the bird feeder patch, and the northern fragment. Lawn mowing is one of my major sources of exercise, second only to shoveling snow.

When I began the east lawn I ran into a little problem. There were all these little things scattered about the south side of the lawn and in the southern corridor. When I noticed the first one from afar I thought it might be a wasp nest. A closer examination revealed that it looked a morel mushroom. In fact it looked like a lot of morel mushrooms. Lawn mowing got interrupted while I harvested morels – approximately sixty of them.

I have no idea why they were there. In the ten years or so that I have resided here I’ve never seen them before. Sister Lois doesn’t remember having ever seen them. Anna, her cher ami, vaguely recalls my mother mentioning them. I speculate that it may have something to do with a couple of elm trees dying. Then again, it may be another instance of that universal explanation, things happen.

I am not one to quarrel with providence. Local experts advised me that I should soak them in salt water, rinse them off carefully, and put them on paper towels on cookie sheets to dry. Once dry, the paper towels are replaced by wax paper and the cookie sheets go into the freezer. (The plan is to keep them from sticking together.) When well frozen they can be bagged. I foresee a number of gourmet meals ahead.

The lawns, oh yes, the great lawn mowing. Well, I did get the east lawn finished. Fortunately it rained the next day.

The streets in Highmore

I went to a Highmore City Council meeting recently. (Our Lady of the Large Black Dog thinks that going to City Council meetings will improve my mind. Little does she know.) As it happens the hamlet, er city, of Highmore paved some of their streets a while back. Currently these “paved” streets are in a state of some disrepair.

Why is this you ask? The answer is simple enough. Back in the old days, hoboes would put a mark on the door of people who were easy marks. The Highmore Auditorium (that’s where the city council sits) has a large mark on its front doors. It’s not visible in ordinary light but it stands right out in scam light. In short, the paving job was done on the cheap and was overpriced.

Be all of that as it may, the highlight of said meeting was when the chap in charge of street repair explained that nothing could be done about the crumbling streets until August.

I am no expert on street repair. Perhaps nothing can be done, perhaps something can be done. I wouldn’t know. This I do know. Nothing will be done until August.

The word is out about Outlaw County

In these parts Hyde County, South Dakota, is known as Outlaw County. I had always supposed that this was more or less a private matter. Outside of the residents in these parts, nobody knows, nobody cares. I will grant that Highmore appears all too often in the SD TV news programs, usually for unsavory reasons.

Apparently, however, Outlaw County has more of a reputation than I had realized. A while back a lady (all women in Hyde County are ladies – it’s editorial policy) moved into Highmore and took a job at the local grocery store. I am not permitted to say that she was scrawny, merely that she was short and slender. I would guess that she was about 5’2″ and maybe weighed 105 lbs soaking wet.

I don’t know where she came from. I don’t know what her past was. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that she was behind on child support. Why she had to pay child support is a mystery. In the scheme of things in Outlaw County failure to pay child support is a mere pecadillo, of no more consequence than spitting on the sidewalk. That’s the local view. The state takes a different view.

The issue is simple. All too often the state has to pony up welfare when people default on their child support. This is serious. Murder, crimes on the high seas, misdeanours, felonies – these all cost the state money to prosecute. Accordingly the state doesn’t take them too seriously. When people default on their child support the state has a chance to get some money back. This is serious business.

Thus it was that the state decided to bring in the lady for mopery and dopery on the spaceways and other high crimes and misdemeanours. They took no chances. They knew what they were dealing with. This was an outlaw in Outlaw County. Two marshalls and two state troopers appeared at the local grocery store and extracted her from behind the cash register.

I hope she didn’t rough them up too much.

This page was last updated May 10, 2010.

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Collected editorials