Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sofa Cushion Rebuilt

sofa cushion
For the first time in almost six months, I can sit on my sofa again.

See, a lot of the furniture in my living room is this matched wicker set. Sofa, chair, rocking chair, coffee table, planter. Late 1930s vintage. When my grandmother moved into town from the farmhouse a number of years ago, she didn't have any room for this wicker furniture in her apartment, so she gave it to me. Very sturdy, very nice condition, especially seeing as all the cushions had had an extra layer of white plant-print fabric over them all these years. When I stripped that away, underneath was the mint condition velour or chenille (or whatever) upholstery.

And sturdy. Only, after a number of years, my weight on that sofa caused the middle cushion to wear through underneath— sort of a dull forest green cotton fabric on the underside of the cushion— and the springs inside the cushion became entangled with the springs in the framework underneath. Just how badly entangled, I didn't realize, until last September when I tried to disentangle them, and was able to do so only by pretty much gutting that cushion. Big metal springs, kapok, innards of the cushion all over the place.

And that has been where things have stayed, for almost six months. Since early or mid September. Cushion, springs, lying there on my living room floor. Sofa unsittable, with a big gap right in the middle of it. I was just too busy, I didn't have the time. And on the rare occasion when I might have had the time, I didn't have the energy.

Oh, by some time in October I'd gotten some dull forest green cotton fabric, a tolerable match for the 1930s original. And some cotton batting to take the place of the kapok. But like I say, I just never found the time. I mean, to fix this cushion, I needed to (1) cut and sew several cloth sleeves; (2) sew six large metal springs inside each cloth sleeve; (3) stuff completed sleeves, and cotton batting, inside the cushion; (4) sew a new forest green bottom onto the cushion; and (5) restring the springs in the framework of the sofa with heavy twine, in a patented 1930s loop-de-underneath-and-up-de-loop twine-tying pattern.

Coming up on Christmas, I did finish one cloth sleeve with half a dozen springs inside of it. Then more procrastination. Didn't get moving on this project, really, until these past few days, when the snow storm gave me some unexpected free time, and I had nowhere else to go and nothing else to do.

So. Sunday and yesterday, I finished the last two out of the three cloth sleeves. Sewed half a dozen springs into each. Fit them inside the cushion, packed with cotton batting. Sewed a double layer of dull forest green cotton fabric onto the bottom of the cushion. (Note, all sewing done by hand.) Restrung the springs in the framework. And voilà! For the first time in almost six months, I can sit on my sofa again.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Morning

Well, here I am, after a weekend in which, due to the snowstorm, I basically had nothing to do. As contrasted with my usual busy weekends.

Apart from milk trucks and a bulldozer/snowplow type vehicle, there was virtually no traffic going by yesterday. I'm not convinced we got quite as much snow as was forecast. But we got quite enough. And I can see several snowdrifts around here which are at least waist deep. Add to that the ice from the freezing rain, and it's no wonder things came to a standstill this weekend.

I took advantage of this unexpected accession of free time to work on repairing and reconstructing a sofa cushion. Project I've been letting hang for almost six months now. Will work on it more, and probably get it finished, today. More on that when I get it done.

Meanwhile, there's no point in sitting at my computer any longer this morning, since my DSL connection is slow like molasses. Whether that's storm related, or whether it's just my small local mom 'n pop Internet Service Provider, StupidISP.com, up to their usual malfunctional tricks, I have no idea.

Meanwhile, it's my day off, and it looks like time to get breakfast.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Monster Storm

Well, this is the weekend of the monster winter storm, such as we haven't seen in this area in a few years. I'm staying indoors and out of trouble. I have no work to do for the rest of the weekend, seeing as both St. John's and Mt. Hope have canceled for tomorrow. Except for the milk truck, I've seen virtually no traffic going by all day.

The bad weather started yesterday evening. Sleet, and rat-a-tat-tat on the windowpanes. High winds, I mean wind just moaning and roaring. Then snow falling: I'm just guessing, but I'd say we got about 3 inches overnight.

And around 10:30 or 11:00 PM, thunder and lightning. Thunder! Like bombs going off! I got up, came downstairs, and shut down my computer, which I otherwise often leave running 24/7 these days.

Up this morning. Winds blowing. Drifting. Indeed I found a small drift of snow indoors on my front porch, where it must've blown in underneath the door, after blowing in first underneath the front screen door.

Then, around 10:30 in the morning, the freezing rain arrived. Windows on the east side of the house were coated within minutes. That was when we decided to cancel church. Most everything everywhere around here for the rest of the weekend is canceled. Lots of wind and precipitation the rest of the day.

I took a nap much of the afternoon, seeing as I've now got no work to do for the rest of the weekend. Got up and ate supper. Now I look out the window, and it's snowing. Snowing, with those high, blowing, roaring, keening winds. The winds up here high atop Wheatland Ridge could be, I dunno, 30 or 35 miles an hour right now.

I hear different amounts of snow forecast. 6 to 8 inches overnight. 8 to 9 inches overnight. 15 inches total between now and whenever it lets up Sunday night. On the radio they're warning people to stay home, don't travel if you can at all avoid it, travel is shut down, don't expect to get anywhere, if you do go out the odds are good you'll end up in the ditch. Stay home.

The milk trucks go through no matter what. But like I say, I've seen hardly a thing but the milk trucks go by here today. Meanwhile, I've got electric power— which, according to the radio, not everyone in the storm's path has right at the moment— and I've got extra groceries in freezer and cupboard. I'm just going to sit here, snug like a bug in a rug, and let this monster winter storm roar on by.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Political Aphasia Funnies

Here's an old comic strip of mine I ran across, I drew it I'd guess back in the late 80s:

political aphasia funnies

political aphasia funnies

political aphasia funnies

political aphasia funnies
* "guywires" = "talking heads," more or less (slang term my brother and I came up with)

political aphasia funnies
..."Enacting the New Republic as the Hegelian 'manifestation of absolute spirit in historical dialectic!'"


Over at IndustrialBlog

IB Bill is writing a very interesting series on... well, check it out yourself: Fascinating article on praise and children, plus random thoughts (how being a kid in school is sort of like being in prison); Why Smartypants can be so dumb; and more to follow!

Update: This morning Bill has instalment three: Mysticism, rationality and psychology, or The Sailboat. Like I say, worth reading!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

In Which I Make a Gyros Sandwich

By thunder, I may at age 50 be getting the hang of this cooking thing at last! Ran down to Waukon on an emergency grocery run today, seeing as the forecast for this weekend is for some Fimbul-winter ice storm with umpteen inches of snow.

Got supplies to make more tacos, and yes, this time I did remember to get sour cream. (Note to Jay: I'm an olive freak, so I also got more sliced black olives. ;-) And while I was at it, I also got supplies to make a gyros sandwich.

You read that right, gyros sandwich. Or as my brother calls them, camelburgers. The new supermarket in Waukon is cool, they carry those strips of lamb meat, I got half a pound of them.

And I made me a gyros sandwich for supper this evening. Already have a supply of those giant tortillas, used one in place of pita bread, heated it up in the microwave between damp paper towels, not as thick as pita bread but it worked pretty well. Got the iron frying pan heated up on medium heat, cooked the meat— worked okay, lots of grease, next time I'll probably cook the meat only about 7 minutes instead of 9 minutes, it was just slightly overdone. Chopped up a slice of onion. Chopped up a small tomato. Shredded up some lettuce. And the cucumber sauce, I sort of cheated on that, used some cucumber ranch dressing in place of the yogurt-and-cucumber recipes which look difficult anywhere I see them.

Rolled everything up, I'd guess once again the entire thing weighed in at almost a pound. And it was good! I'm not quite up yet to the standards of the Parthenon, a Greek restaurant on State Street in Madison where I used to order a gyros and fries, $1.62 total, back when I was a college freshman circa 1974. I remember them slicing the meat off a big giant rotating piece of meat with burners flaming behind it, young fellows calling out to one another in Greek, and the family patriarch who dressed in a black suit and looked like an undertaker had his own table where he always sat watching the proceedings of a Saturday night. Those were the days! I'm not quite up to that standard of gyros-hood yet, but I got better than halfway there on my first try. This cooking thing, there may be something to it.

And I've got enough supplies to make several big tacos this weekend, when the winter storm hits.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Late 80s Style That Wasn't In for Long

Am I the only person who remembers this? There was a style for the interior of public places which was really "in," and really seemed to be spreading and catching on, for a brief while back in the late 80s. I'm talking like 1987 or 1988.

I first noticed it in a shopping mall I frequented. Then you'd see it around in libraries or other places that had just been remodeled. Heavy use of certain colors: salmon and sea green. Lots of ornate brass, elaborate light fixtures with spherical or bowl-like glass shades, brass chandeliers, brass wall sconces, all in bright, bright shiny brass. Decorative wooden or plaster molding. Colored wood or blonde wood. Overall a rather geometric effect, something like Art Deco but all in off-color metrosexual pastels.

Back in 1987 or 1988 this style was spreading. I mean, it was appearing all over. It looked like it was going to be the Next Big Thing. Then within just a year or two it fizzled out, and fell completely out of style. Though to this day once in a while I'll run across a restaurant or a library reading room, and I'll think to myself, this place must've been redecorated in the late 80s.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Which I Make Tacos

Believe me, I am nobody's idea of a cook. I look at all the amazing recipes Jay Solo prepares, and I am astonished. It's all I can do to make a ham and cheese sandwich. So it was as if I had taken leave of my senses when I was shopping at the supermarket yesterday, and suddenly the idea struck me: "Why don't I make tacos for supper tonight?"

I knew I already had at home some hamburger and a head of lettuce. So I got some tortillas. Packet of taco seasoning mix. Can of diced tomatoes and green chilies [sic, that's how it's spelled on the can]. Can of sliced black olives. Shredded cheese, half mild cheddar and half Monterey jack.

Got home. Heated up a few tortillas between damp paper towels in the microwave. Heated up the old cast iron frying pan, and cooked up two thirds of a pound of hamburger. Mixed in some water and the seasoning mix with the hamburger, cooked until it thickened up. Then laid out tortillas— oops, aren't taco shells smaller? These were like 11 inches across— added hamburger, diced tomatoes and green chilies [sic], shredded fresh lettuce, sliced black olives, and shredded cheese.

Popped finished tacos into the microwave for 20 or 30 seconds, they were so full I had to hold them shut with wooden toothpicks.

Now. Like I say. Aren't taco shells smaller? I'd guess these two tacos weighed a full pound each. I ate one taco, amazingly delicious. Put the other taco in the refrigerator, I will probably have it for lunch today.

Seems I forgot the sour cream. Oh well. For me, this was an amazing culinary accomplishment, as is any recipe which calls for more than two ingredients.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Up at the Storyblogging Carnival

The 64th Storyblogging Carnival is up this morning at Dean's World. And among the stories entered is my own short story, Skeetchee.

Various and wondrous are the forms intelligent life may assume. On a far distant world, Skeetchee flies through the morning sky on thousands of wings...

Laughing Dog

Dang, turns out dogs are laughing after all. You know, when their tongue is hanging out and they're puffing and panting. They really are laughing, at least some of the time.

When I was a youngster I always used to assume that dogs were laughing, until I ran across some tidbit from a debunking naysayer ("NOOOOOOO!") who asservated that it's just a dog's way of perspiring.

Which it is, much of the time. But now it turns out that certain "dog laughter" has a very distictive profile spectrogram-wise, and "appears to be a vocalization exclusive to play encounters and friendly encounters with other dogs and people. This vocalization is a signal to reinforce play, a signal to initiate play, and to demonstrate good intentions."

Reminds me of the old Talking Heads song:
I know the animals... Are laughing at us
They don't even know... What a joke is
I won't follow... Animal's advice
I don't care... If they're laughing at us.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mucho Busy

Busy with work. Busy with Lions Club tasks. Will come up for air again some time soon, I hope.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Multilingual Shirt Tags

You know how in recent years, you will buy something at the store, and it will be labeled in English and Spanish. Or in English and French. Makes it a bit puzzling, and sometimes rather cramped with all that extra print on there. But I've learned to live with it.

Until I bought a tee shirt which has shirt tags (plural) in five different languages.

You know how a tee shirt has a little tag inside the back of the shirt collar— or, well, a tee shirt doesn't have a collar, but you know what I mean— and on this little tag it gives the size, and washing instructions, and maybe also "100% cotton," and "Made Wherever."

Well, this tee shirt I got has not one but two tags inside the back of the, uh, collar. Two huge tags. One tag is nearly three inches long. The other tag is four and a quarter inches. Huge tags, they tickle the back of my neck, a perpetual penance when wearing this tee shirt. But it's all worth it, you see, because on these two huge tags they've managed to cram all that information in five different languages.

In English. In Spanish. In French. In German. And even, God preserve us, in Portuguese.

In Portuguese: what are they planning on doing, selling these shirts in Brazil? Couldn't they have tagged shirts destined for Brazil separately? I mean, it tickles on the back of my neck.

And the different languages are much more widely spaced on the tags than they would have to be— well, of course, it looks as if it was all spaced and formatted by computer. With lots of extra needless white space. Makes sense.

And then in addition to the five languages, they give various little incomprehensible "international" hieroglyphics, which I can only interpret as, "don't refract light through a prism," or "martini, shaken, not stirred."

These shirt tags are to me a good symbol of what's dysfunctional and out of order in our bureaucratic, designed-by-comittee modern era. Don't make things for human use, don't make things according to a human yardstick, and whatever you do, don't resort to common sense. No, do everything according to abstract, senseless, inhuman principles, emulate the burgeoning regulations of the European Union or the IRS, and leave humanity to cope with the resultant mess as best they can.

Besides. Those oversized shirt tags tickle the back of my neck. I'd cut them off, but then I'd have to answer to the Mattress Tag Police.


Monday, February 12, 2007


Now this is strange: I overslept this morning. Didn't even wake up until 7:30. For me that's unheard of. I'm usually up by 6:00 AM, and awake earlier than that; sometimes awake much earlier than 6:00. It's my day off, so it doesn't matter if I oversleep or what. But I just do not sleep till anything near as late as 7:30.

Woke up from a dream of the flexible elastic stretching metal robot, made of steel, stretching and flattening out and rolling up like a piano roll. Earlier in the night I dreamed I traveled back in time to grill one of the worser grade school teachers I had— "Now, why did you do that? What justification did you think you had?"— then I cleared out right before she accidentally set off the cataclysmic explosion, KABOOM! Cleared out via a "time machine" which was like an Internet hyperlink, I mean I clicked on the link to go to another era in time, sort of like clicking on the link to go to another website.

Oh well. This is my day off. It snowed last night. I overslept. Time for breakfast, followed by a slow and leisurely day.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Number Lists

Back about in fourth grade my friend Chuck and I got the bright idea of writing up number lists. I don't know where we got this idea from, but somehow we found it fascinating. The idea was, you would simply take pen and paper, and start writing out a list of numbers. Starting with 1, and going up. Certain key numbers would be circled, or underlined, or have a square or pentagon or whatever drawn around them.

And we would just keep going like this, page after page. I think I got up above 5000. One time (yes, we did this on more than one occasion) Chuck got up over 25000. I kid you not.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384, 385, 386, 387, 388, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 400...


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rocker Blotter

It was just over eleven years ago, December of 1995. I was unemployed, my car had just had a rebuilt engine put in, and I was rapidly plummeting toward flat broke. So I went and did the obvious thing, and purchased a beautiful but utterly useless item: a cherry wood rocker blotter.

rocker blotter
Over the past dozen-odd years, I've picked up a number of little items which I call my "gear." Most of them dirt cheap, none of them more than moderately expensive. Usually items of no practical utility whatsoever. But they strike a chord somewhere deep within me. And they add, in a small but real way, to the long-term beauty of my everyday life.

That rocker blotter has sat for years now on my desktop. Even though I often write with a fountain pen, I've never used the rocker blotter on fountain-penned ink. No, it just looks cool sitting there on my desk. In its own small way, it adds to the quality of life.

The inlaid wooden strip on top, according to the Levenger catalog, was manufactured in the 1930s and lay undiscovered in a warehouse in Paris for many years. After it was found, someone got the bright idea of inlaying it in these rocker blotters. When I first got the rocker blotter, the cherry wood was quite light. Over the years, I've watched it darken and mellow.

Like I say, most of my items of "gear" are of no real use. (My Swiss Army knife would be an exception.) But still, my life would be poorer without them. You could call my "gear" hyacinths for the soul. Of course, it should come as no surprise that in an age when fewer and fewer credit the soul, fewer and fewer find value in hyacinths.

Now all I need to do is find some green blotting paper, to replace the light brown that I've used all these years in the rocker blotter. I visit office supply stores and whatnot, not so very infrequently. You'd think one of these times I'd take the time to stop and look?

Art Linkletter Is In

Oops, the other day I wrote, "Art Linkletter is out." Little did I realize that Mr. Linkletter, who I used to watch on TV way back when I was a kid, is still with us, and is still going strong at age 95. In fact the other day TV game show host Bob Barker, who is retiring soon, suggested Linkletter to succeed him.

So. My bad. Art Linkletter is in.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Bell bottom jeans are out. Pop art is out. Sixties rock is out. Lava lamps are out. Long hippie hair is out, though there was a time in the late 70s when crewcuts were "wouldn't be caught dead" out. The Age of Aquarius is out. Nehru jackets are out.

Typewriters are out. Manual typewriters are out. Electric typewriters are out. Crow quill pens are out. Vellum is out, papyrus is out, scrolls are out.

Dodos are out. Passenger pigeons are out. Quaggas are out. Whooping cranes and buffalo were almost out for a while, but they're back in now. The Tasmanian wolf is out. The aurochs is out. The giant ground sloth is out. The woolly mammoth is out. Dinosaurs are out, though they'll always be in in our hearts.

Studebakers are out. Stanley Steamers are out. Packards are out. The Nash Rambler is out. The Stutz Bearcat is out. The Pierce Arrow is out. The Model T is out. The horse drawn carriage is out, except in Amish country. Tail fins are out.

For the time being, summer is out. The full moon was in the other night, but now it's on the way out.

Raccoon fur coats are out. Speakeasies are out. Crystal radios are out. 23 Skidoo is out. Calvin Coolidge is out. Flappers are out. Mah Jongg is out. Silent movies are out.

"Oxen" is still in. But "eyen" is out. "Shoon" is out. "Thee bist" is out, except in parts of southwest England.

Floppy disks are out. DOS is out. WordStar is out. CP/M is out. Gopherspace is out. Project Xanadu was expected in sooner or later, but it's always been out. Glowing green Hercules monochrome monitors are out.

Galaga is out. Q-bert is out. Centipede is out. Asteroids is out. Galaxian is out. Pong is out. Battlezone is out. Dig Dug is out. Burger Time is out. Street Fighter is out. Frogger is out. Robotron is out. Tempest is out.

Conelrad is out. Charlie McCarthy is out. The Secret Storm is out. The Jackie Gleason show is out. Jack Benny is out. Lost in Space is out. Cowboy in Africa is out. The Mutual Broadcasting System is out. The Happy Station Show on Radio Nederland shortwave broadcasts is out. Ed Sullivan is out. Art Linkletter is out. Westerns are out.

Eating goldfish is out. The hula hoop is out. Streaking is out. Davy Crockett raccoon tail hats are out. Sock hops are out. Trays that perch on your driver's side window at drive-ins are out. The Brooklyn Dodgers are out. Mood rings are out. Mercury in thermometers is out. Half dollars are pretty much out. Dial phones are out. 8 track tapes are out. Turntables and vinyl records, alas, are out.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Airwaves (Not a Dream)

An entry from back around 1996 or 1997, as is recorded in my Book of Dreams:

New Year's Eve some very odd discoveries combusted on this terrestrial plane— as if out of an old recurring dream of twenty years ago and more— both having to do with one of my special lifelong interests, the airwaves.

Believe it or not, this one was not a dream.

First of all, fiddling around with the radio, I discovered, for the first time, a station broadcasting in the new 1610-1700 kHz range. Some far distant station on 1660. Mostly music. I recorded the station identification at the top of the hour, but it was too weak to decipher. As it was the only station broadcasting on that frequency, it could have been from anywhere in the country.

Then Steven discovered something even stranger. A new TV station in Madison. Or rather (since it is listed in the Yellow Pages under "Television Stations") a TV station whose very existence we have somehow managed for months to miss.

And a very bizarre TV station, at that. "Channel 8, WO8CK, Madison, Wisc." Programs simply airing without further announcement or interruption, except for fancy station identifications which run for three or four minutes every half hour. Extremely amateurish production values. All the programs are like something right out of the bargain basement of videotapes, all of them ten and fifteen years old, and more than slightly funky.

Some strange holistic health program, with commercials (among the few that aired) for the "Life Force Newsletter," and news about reincarnation. The Christophers, and a priest interviewing a paraplegic police officer. A half hour of third-rate rock videos, all from the same "Sparrow Communications Corp."

And to top it off, presentations of some mystic "spiritual master," Gilligan with a Hawaiian lei around his neck. Chanting, chanting, chanting while various scenes play across the screen. A man surfing the waves. A road between rows of trees. A woman working an old-fashioned hand pump. Gilligan chanting on the beach. Children watching doves in the park. A shot of Jesus in Gethsemane, which fades to a blue-skinned Hindu goddess with a fawn at her breast. Gilligan chanting atop a rock. Quotes from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Psalms. And all the while, the chanted background refrain of "Gopala Govinda Rama, Madana Mohana..."

After about fifteen minutes, the entire sequence began all over again. It re-ran with only minor variations: a fastbuck leaping in rhythm with the chanting, which fades to Gilligan and his crowd, all leaping in rhythm with the chanting. A different set of Bhagavad-Gita quotes.

And then a third fifteen-minute re-run. This time, more variations in the sequence were introduced, as the whole presentation took on the air of a Laplace transform of itself. A new sequence inserted about Socrates. A sun over water scene with quotes from some philosopher about "living in the machine age." Variations in the order of old shots.

And then a fourth fifteen minutes, this time everything old and new, well shuffled and transmogrified. Holy spinachia!

Then an hour (part of which I skipped) of Gilligan discoursing on the New Year, and "people who have tasted the bitter nectar of this world." This wrapped up at midnight with a reprise of selected shots of Gilligan, the fastbuck leaping, crowd chanting, and then several minutes of station identification, "WO8CK Madison, Wisc.", after which, without further ado, the station went off the air.

Talk about bizarre... And like I say, this one was not a dream...

Eerie overtones of a recurring dream I used to have back round and about my teenage years— of coming down early in the morning, turning on the TV, tuning around, and discovering a mysterious "Channel 29," with surreal dream-logic shows featuring a robot named Candlestick Parker, and the Secret Spy with the Soda-Straw Camera which "took" not photographs but cartoons. I remember how that dream came to symbolize for me the sense almost of awe, which I came in those years to connect with the practice of tuning around on the airwaves. A sense of awe which led me to realize, even at that age, that not all synthetic a priori's are listed in Kant: to space, time, number, logic, causality, qualities, we must add at the very least the radio dial. Cassirer, who guarded so fiercely the mutual independence of his various symbolic forms, would have understood.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day

I heard on the radio at breakfast this morning whether that groundhog out in Pennsylvania saw his own shadow. Now I don't remember! LOL!

Looks to me like it's, I dunno, maybe 8 below this morning. I've got to pull some things together today, then take off mid-afternoon to head up to a Lions Mid-Winter convention. I'll be returning from there late Saturday night, when it's supposed to fall to 10 or 15 below. Let's hope the Jeep runs smoothly.

On another note, Blogger did eventually get yesterday's widespread snafu straightened out. My archives are back. Let's just hope nothing else untoward happens with the New Blogger.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Error! Error! Error!

Oh, great. The first of my "New Blogger" glitches. Blogger has just gone and lost all my monthly archives, dating back over the past two years and more.

Spring Grove Pop

Unless you live right in my neck of the woods, you've probably never had the privilege of drinking the best pop in the universe, which is bottled in the small town of Spring Grove, Minnesota.

Spring Grove pop— alias Spring Grove Soda, alias Spring Grove Soda Pop— comes in bottles only, no cans; and it's made with pure cane sugar, not that eeeevil high fructose corn syrup. Believe me, you can't get pop from a "big name" bottler that tastes this good.

My favorite is Spring Grove Black Cherry. The other flavors, I believe, are Root Beer, Orange, Strawberry, Cream Soda, Lemon Sour, and Grape. Or I think maybe there's also a Creamy Orange, not to be confused with Orange.

If you don't mind loading a page where three pictures add up to 2.3 megs (webmaster, whatever were you thinking?!), here's the Spring Grove Pop website.