Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summertime and the living is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich; your mama's good lookin'
So hush little baby, don' you cry.

One of these days you're gonna rise up singin'
Gonna spread your wings and take to the sky
Till that days comes ain't nothin' can harm you
With your mama and your daddy standin' by.

Sweet Pisces son, bright Leo uprisin'
A storm-born boy with a tiger's roar
Of travelin' clans - the wide world is your cradle
Across the horizons you are destined to soar

So hush little boy - don' let nothin' distress you
Just close your eyes and settle back secure
Dream of the sky and of mountains below you
And dream of the roads that the world has in store.

Deep winter boy - once born in the northlands
Brimming with stories of summer inside
With Raven's high magic to get to the answers
A tough sturdy soul of oak, steel and pride.

Settle down boys - just another day endin'
And Mama and Daddy not far from your side
Snuggle down boys - let sleep creep upon you
Sail on the dreamscape on the night's quiet tide.

Original lyrics by G. Gershwin
Additional lyrics by A.B.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The last night of music at the winery.  Jazz under sunset,
and Yiri mourned the end of summer.

Their boys, just back from Czechia,
had six time zones of jet lag nipping at their heels, 
but disappeared into the twilight with Porter and Nico.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Pungent tang of grasscut is reaching through the window as  I type.  Monica is out with the mower putting on eau de petrol.

Summer's flown and in that spirit I fly over the highlights of the last weeks.  Chris and Hanno come to visit, bringing the boys back, from 3 weeks being spoiled down in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  We convince
them to spend the week on our beaches and trails rather than drive off into the heart of New England.  

So there is good food and good beer and visiting into the night and in the morning garden.

The woods are full of mushrooms and I want to forage.

For a week, the boys spend their days at camp.  The parents spend their days at work.  The CSA is as merciless with its tomatoes as it was with the kale and chard.

A guinea pig, Chino, has gone missing -- taking its rightful place in the food chain.  Porter catches a pair of great bluefish out in Long Island sound, which we devour with garlic and cold drinks.

The geen saturn is wrecked by an absent-minded, SUV upon an S-curve, and no one is hurt.  

The cuckoos fledge some young, but one of the parents is murdered by a car -- and languishes now in the freezer to be stuffed for display at the nature center. Juvenile hummingbirds fight over the nectar in the feeder.

And the nights grow colder -- nearing the 40's as though it weren't still August . . . .

Saturday, August 16, 2008


There's a flame under the cauldron that comes roaring to life.  You check your protective sleeves, flick down your visor and toss a half dozen kernels of popocorn into the rapidly heating oil.  You wait until they start to pop and quickly dump in the scoopful of popcorn and then directly upon that a smaller scoop of sugar.  You grab up the wooden paddle and start stirring the bubbling mix of kernel, oil and sugar.  Back, forth, around, back forth, around.  A few begin to pop and then a few more -- and you stir more vigorously.  Spatterings of oily sugar and rogue kernels fly up and most, but not all arc back into the great kettle.  A needle-sharp jab of oil hits an exposed bit of skin on your neck.  And then things intensify into a shocking machine-gun crescendo of popping and flying.  Passersby pause to see what the commotion is.  As the climax passes you slam down the lever and the roar of the burner stops, but the popping keeps going and you keep stirring as fast as you can.  Finally, you grab a handle and lever the whole cauldron up onto its side to dump the steaming kettlecorn out onto the perforated metal bin.  Once you spread it, salt it, spread it again and salt it again -- you have kettlecorn ready to bag and sell for the fairgoers.

For 7 hours at the Washington County fair, I made the batches, one after another and Gordon helped to bag them.  It's the year's great fundraiser for the cub scout pack -- and in exchange for our sweaty shifts -- we don't have to distract the scouts with fundraising for the rest of the year.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The thunderstorms and their torrents had passed on -- leaving the clouds to shred themselves into sunlit tatters.  I drove the back roads to the winery in North Stonington for the Thursday night music.  It was The River Gods playing -- roots rock -- a little reminiscent of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but with a bit of Grateful Dead mixed in and put out with mandolin and pedal steel guitar.

I was alone for the first set (they played till they'd broken one string too many).  The nearly full moon was rising in a lacework of blue clouds, and the purple peach sunset was fading down over the back horizon.  A treefrog was chuckling somewhere over my right shoulder.  Monica had gone to Boston to pick up Hanno and they arrived the same time as Yuri and Sarka.  Then the zinfandel and merlot and conversation flowed and I lost track of all but the most soulful of the music.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The next time you hear someone describe John McCain as a "maverick" this is a nice video to show them:

The URL is:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Box Lots

I went to the estate auction for Florence Drew -- who died a month shy of 96.  With a distracted flock of other bidders you wander along -- following the auctioneer as he jollies you along through the mounds and piles and boxes of an old lady's stuff.  I bought a pile of her gardening tools and got a little green and yellow push cart for Monica.  Mrs. Drew had upholstered the seat of her old Model A when it had outlived the car.  I have a weird liking for the crunch of horsehair, and so for the fair price of 5 dollars that's become a bench in the basement.  A pair of nice oak chairs for $7.50 each (and the man who I outbid shook his head regretfully and said I got a very good deal).  And because I'd also been willing to pay 5 bucks for a few old Zane Gray novels, I ended up with a pile of 5 box lots tossed together.  One, of fabric, I opportunistically pawned off on a church lady, and I gave a framed photo to someone who knew one of the people pictured.  But the rest came home to be sorted into keep, donate or discard.  Pictures and books and old housewares mostly.  Ah, the guilty pleasures of being an auction bottom-feeder.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bridget Gilchrist Gary Quillen Johnson

Welcome to the world, niece!

Cathie and Eric brought a new baby girl into the world last night.  Word is that baby and mother and father and grandmothers are all doing fine.

(Cue the image of a ball sending the duckpins flying -- and a new life knocks other lives end over end over end.)

Two weeks early, 19 and 3/4 inches, and 6 lbs 13 oz.

Gigi and the proud grandpa

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A she-sparrow eyed a spider that hung in its web.  As she stretched her neck forward toward it, the spider vanished into a brownish blur, vibrating like sand on a drum-head.  The sparrow drew back, cocking her head and looking stupid.  A spider body came back into focus.  The sparrow stretched forward again and again the spider blurred.  The sparrow sat perplexed for a moment before some distraction sent her flitting off noisily with the other sparrows.  The spider hung in its web.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I posted a short essay over at DailyKos:

The Last Boondoggle and Civilization's Endgame.

A true boondoggle is a marvelous thing.  It's more than just a mistake or a normal swindle.  It is a burst of misguided energy and activity that completely fails to accomplish what it is supposed to -- but which serves the purposes of the boondoggler perfectly well . . . . 

Friday, August 1, 2008

The economy lands a blow.

Cutbacks at work -- the company's in the red.  Fewer hours, less pay, and my job security flips to job insecurity.

It's not quite dire straits, yet, but cast your money-spells for us as we scramble to re-cobble our cash flows.