Sunday, December 7, 2008

Let's Speculate

The existence of an afterlife
Is less incredible
Than that we are here at all.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My museum

I am curator of the museum of my life.
I gather display and get rid of stuff.
When the caretaker has gone
The building will be razed
The contents put up for sale.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Obama Stole my Knife

I'm too old to stand in line anymore. I stay home and cook my own dinner. If I must watch a movie I rent it from the video store. There's never a line there.

But I waited two and half hours to see Obama and Hillary in Grand Forks last month. The long line was thanks to the funnel of security. There are crazy people who want to kill Obama and Hillary. I can understand that I guess.

When they said security I never thought they meant airport style security and so my little Swiss Army knife got caught in the web. The blade of my knife is less than an inch and a half long. Of course Operation Iraqi Freedom was set off by a boxcutter.

I was just sick when the guard said he would have to keep my little knife. "We have a hundred of them already." He gave me the option of taking the knife back to my car. Forget it. The line behind me was huge. I can get another for 5 or 6 bucks. The knife had no sentimental value.

Obama talked about creating a world where knives were no longer necessary. Hillary reminded me of Reagan with vignettes about people who went nuts after having their knives taken away.

On Monday I went to the hardware store looking for a new knife. Twenty dollars for the same knife I'd left behind in Grand Forks.

Son of a biscuit!

I went to Amazon. New there for ten bucks plus shipping. Used .01 cent. One cent? Yes. Plus shipping of $4.99 with the following commentary:

Another seller has repeatedly undercut me by 1 cent. He continues to cut my price by a penny. Read about him. He's in the book business. Check his prices on books. I have been in the knife business for over 35 years. I am again offering classics for ONE CENT. So have at it, Ed! NTSA Airport seizure. This is a used knife which was taken away at an airport security check. The plastic sides become worn and scratched from change and keys..i.e. pocket wear. When I send a knife graded "Used-Acceptable", there WILL BE significant POCKET WEAR. A few may have the Swiss Cross logo worn off, or a minor chip out of the plastic. Please don't expect a NEW knife for $.01. The blade may be a bit worn and scratched, however it will be SHARP, scissor spring is there and it works, and the tweezers and toothpick are both present. And the LIFETIME WARRANTY against defects in materials and workmanship still applies! And as always.... Thank you for your business!

OK that sounds fair. Ten days later I had my new used knife. The logo was intact. No chips in the plastic. The blade was SHARP and the toothpick and tweezers were present. The scissors spring also worked. But I wondered, would this blade cut a seat belt? I got my first knife when I was seven but wasn't allowed possession for one year. I've carried a knife off and on ever since. I got serious about carrying a knife at all times when I read a newspaper story about a man who pulled another man from a burning wreck. The seat belt was jammed and he had to cut it to get the man out. "I've always carried a knife since I worked on a farm as a boy," he said. After that I made sure I always had a hefty blade with me. It would be a terrible thing to watch a person burn because you could not pull them free. Especially after I had read the story.

But then I became a professional and the bulge of a large blade looked funny, so I downsized to the inch and a half blade. It's razor sharp. I think I could cut a seatbelt or a terrorist's jugular. But it would be a struggle. And don't look for help from me on board a plane or at an Obama rally.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ah, me.

Sixty-one today. What have I accomplished in the past year?
I'm still tickin' for one thing.

Okay, enough with the joking.

My only gauge as to how well I'm doing is my progress in the study of the French language. Why I picked this knotty language instead of crossword puzzles or Fox News, I do not know.

Ennaways, a year ago, 03/29/07, in my blog: Missed a Cog I detailed my studies in French. I was memeorizing words back then and reading only French texts and listening only to French radio stations.

During the summer I fell off this wagon. At some time I realized the only way I was going to progress along this good idea of learning another language was to make the whole process more entertaining. We young people need to be entertained, otherwise, good-by.
And what could be more entertaining than the French novel. Yes, the French novel. Very most interesting, as my cousin Liz's Lithuanian grandmother used to say. The French novel deals mostly with love and the problems ensuing from the lack thereof.
I sit myself down every day at an early hour and read a Chapter of the Bible to get warmed up. Gradually I started reading this chapter in French. Then I write in my diary-book of the doings of yesterday. Interesting tidbits that occur around me. I know the economy is going pot while things are getting better in Iraq. If only we could make Iraq pay. Not going to happen. We're too drunk on Chinese wine. I hope there's a plan to make all this come out. The history will be written in installments. For some reason Ireland has gotten very expensive. Don't know why. The Irish can only take advantage of this imbalance by going abroad, which has always been their forte.
After the diary is done I cook a little coffee and start in on my translation for the day. I'm basically a lazy person. Sloth is my consuming passion, but the example of the good Sisters and Brothers has finally taken hold and I drag my sleepy self out of bed and read a few verses and write a few lines and crack open a French novel and read a line or two and soon come across a word I do not know. I have a little dictionary, easy to hold but not always containing the word I do not know. I almost know now which words are not likely to be in it. And so I turn to the big blue LaRousse, a tome I purchased at age 16 at the downtown Boston Jordan Marsh. I think the reason I continue with French is to ratify this early expense.
But I hate to use this book because the spine is splitting and I fear the whole thing will fall apart like a cheap French novel. But the sections are sewn together and though the pages are yellowed, I think the whole will last.
The language of the novels I read is tasty but full of gristle. The gristle is in my lack of comprehension. As I make progress the text becomes more savory. A year ago I had to look up a lot more words. Now the reading goes more easily and even the gristle yields.

There's a heroine in one of Trollope's novels who "speaks French, understands Italian, and reads German." She's English you understand. I'm still climbing the hill to 'reading French.'
Well folks, it's 7:10 p.m. The sun is setting; the shadows grow long. There's still an abundance of snow. Anyone wishing to do a little cross country skiing, well this here's the place. Someday I'd like to follow the retreating snows up to Manitoba, Hudson Bay, and the North Pole, but first I need to build up my muscles and convince Pete Fugleberg to harness his huskies in my service.
Let's see, what else do I want to cover on this my 61st anniversary. I'm feeling very well thank you. I have reconciled myself to not playing for the Red Sox or Patriots. That's a comfort.

I expect the best and prepare for the worst. (That's a joke, son.)

Good night.