Letting The Dishes Pile Up

Yesterday the dishes piled up. Normally this would cause great consternation and a flurry of scrubbing. Instead, I went for a walk in a garden and looked for flowers.

The dishes will get washed eventually, and I have a whole portfolio of beauty for my trouble today. I must make these sort of choices more often.

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A Little Time In The Garden

Those of you who know my habits know that what little time I spend in the garden is generally confined to replacing sprinkler fittings or burying dead pets. For the most part I leave the vegetation alone and try to ensure that it does not attack me.

Yet, with the coming of spring and the hardy recurrence of the vegetable pirates I can take some advantage of them by testing out camera lenses on them. There is no subtlety in this – colourful flowers are a sure-fire drawcard for any website. All you really need to do is get them mostly in focus in clear sunshine. And try not to kneel in an ant nest as you are doing it.

If you are quiet and observant you get to see the workings of the suburban zoo – the tiny insects attacking and devouring each other, and the silent passage of the standard skink. I have yet to see the gecko that hatched inside the house but am still hopeful. And I do have a spot of affection for a wooly bear caterpillar I saw at work on the weeds that grow between the patio bricks. I left him eating one and discovered at the end of the afternoon that he had ingested his way down the whole walkway.

If we were real gardeners we would probably have enough wildlife in the back yard to attract David Attenborough. Perhaps we should plant bananas and hope for gorillas.

My Kinda Social Justice Warrior

I was never much of a fan of revolution until I saw the uniforms. Particularly the ones they gave to the girls. Eugene Delacroix was on the spot to capture the new fashion and I am grateful.

I even approve of the musket, though my experience of the 1777 Charleville .69 calibre arm was mixed. It had a good barrel, and  a convenient set of barrel bands to allow for cleaning, but the stock was woefully short coupled – the French must all have had short arms and tiny physiques. The British Brown Bess was a much more comfortable firearm to use. About the only really clever thing the French did was put a locking ring on the tree-cornered bayonet so that you could withdraw it without having it fall off the barrel.*

The heading image is only part of Delacroix’s painting; ” Liberty Leading The People “- if you google it you’ll get to see the chaps on the lady’s right and the kid with the pistol. The one with the top hat seems to be hefting a blunderbus…which leads one to question who exactly he is, with the fancy clothes and the civilian man-killer. Stagecoach guard? Gamekeeper?

Further to her right is a pirate with a cutlass. He’s also got a pistol aimed at his own goolies.

The kid with the pistol is actually toting two of them, plus an improbably large bag of accessories. It may contain his play lunch.

And they are all climbing over a pile of broken furniture and rubbish. Delacroix has used the caption to suggest a noble purpose for it all, but after looking at this lot, I have come to the conclusion that Liberty is not really leading the people. She’s had a good look at them and is doing her best to get away from them.

I should too. Armed amateurs with no sense of firearms responsibility. Any SSAA range officer would throw ’em out in a minute.

*  When the US Army redesigned the basic musket in 1842 they added more stock and wrist to it and it became a really good battlefield shotgun. But by then the rifled musket was the queen of battle so it was a second-line item.

A Live Action Version Of…

Of a cartoon that was drawn from life.

Do you ever find yourself thinking that the motion picture, television, and entertainment industry has long since been given over to pre-pubescent teenage accountants?

I’m drawn to the conclusion when I see advertisements that tout valueless depictions of equally valueless source material and aim it at an 11-year-old’s mind. While asking the viewers to pay a day’s wages for a ticket and a chocolate ice cream.

It is either the best thing since sliced bread for the investors or the worst thing since smallpox for the customers. Both might get what they want, but I should be happier if they both got what they deserved.

A modest proposal; if you are going to base a modern motion picture upon a historical Disney cartoon, or a modern Disney cartoon upon a historical motion picture, at least have the goodness to charge the original ticket price for the remake. If ” Dumbo” was selling for 15¢ a ticket in 1939, make that the charge for the modern version.

In any case, if it is live action movie, don’t cast Jim Carrey as the mouse. Rodents deserve more dignity.

PS: Yes. I’ve seen an elephant’s fly, but I don’t boast about it.

Clasting Icons For Fun And Profit

I have just finished a book by Bertrand Russell and have been surprised by three things; that it would ever end, that I would stick to reading it until the last page, and that I would thoroughly enjoy it.

It was written in 1930, and treats of happiness – in this case by seeking the conquest of it. It is apparently well within Russell’s style of clear composition presenting muddled thought. The stream of consciousness is not that muddy, however, and most of what BR has to say is pretty sensible. As he does not jolt upright and thrust his politics into the face of the reader more than 3 or 4 times, the main part of the essay is actually useful.

It’s certainly drawn an echo from some of the circumstances of my life, and I think the experiences over the years have opened me to be able to read him – where I threw his books in the figurative fire as a youth.

It’s rather fun to be able to read an English philosopher who writes in comparatively modern times and who can be seen to be wrong about as many times as he is right by his public pronouncements…and private secrets. One need not reverence him but can just pick the kernels of wisdom out of the unpopped thoughts.

I wonder if it is safe to read any of the rest of his stuff? If I do, I shall want the real thing and not a history teacher’s précis.

Why Are We Entertained By…?

Why are we entertained by:

a. Depictions of murder.

What is attractive about reading or seeing the death of someone? If we need to have mysteries to puzzle and thrills to seek, why can they not be mysteries and thrills of discovery or accomplishment rather than bloodshed. Remember the movies that depicted the lives of Pasteur and Ehrlich.

Look at it this way; no-one wants to be injured or murdered themselves. It is something the sane person runs from. Goggling and gawping over that same sad fate for others calls into question a lot of our real morality.

b. Depictions of sex.

We may well be entertained ( or appalled ) by sex itself as it applies to us – the snorting , scooching, splashing, heaving , etc that occurs. But none of that touches us if it is just on a page or a screen.

Better to go look for a snort and a scooch in the real world. What you do when you find it should be a private matter.

c. Depictions of fantasy dragons, unicorns, and mystical wizards.

We’re old enough to know that none of that is real. There are enough exciting things in adult life without going back to the faerie tales. Feed your imagination for a while and then use that healthy imagination to live well in the real world.

d. Comic book movies.

Reading a comic book is fine, as is drawing and collecting them. What you see is what you get – and your imagination can supply well over half of the experience. When the motion picture industry steps in and tries to turn the simple into the complex or vice versa they do our minds a disservice. When they fill shops with plastic toy memorabilia they tax our wallets needlessly.

e. Political chaos.

No-one benefits from disastrous politics in Moscow, New York, or Sydney. Snorfling, meming, and giggling at the failings of the politicians to keep us safe, fed, and employed does no good whatsoever.

f. The antics of the rich and entitled.

Some of them are very pleasant to encounter in real life while some are positively dangerous. If these latter were less rewarded with sycophancy and celebrity, they might just fade off to their tax havens and leave the rest of us alone.

The Radiant Personality On The Radio

Saw a radiant person on a speaking stage a few months ago and was most impressed at her ability to pull a polished performance out of a hat. On in a flash, fun and laughter, several good stories and a mild sort of plugging for her radio show, and off again. The audience had obviously tuned in to her for years as an early television presenter, so she capitalised upon this for several anecdotes. She even got a plug in for the current radio station she works at…and then was off and running to that gig.

I know another person, a model, dancer, and general intellectual who also sits at a radio microphone a number of times a week and also manages to make the thing bop along in a very amusing style. She’s a find for the local station that employs her as it also has a great deal of artistry and intellect involved in its programming. These presenters are a  blessed relief on the air – they don’t shoot low and they don’t assume we’re riding Shetlands.

Neither of these ladies is rude nor crude. They lift the spirit. They might spend their holidays throwing rocks at trains but they do not let it show at all in their professional presentation – that is as clean and friendly as a whistle.