Rodents Of Unusual Size

images.jpgThe dangers of the fire swamp are the flame spurt, the lightning sand, the Internet wormholes, and the dreaded Rodents Of Unusual Size (ROUS). Leslie has demonstrated the most effective way to avoid three of these dangers but no one has a viable way of avoiding Internet wormholes short of tossing your computer (or Smart Phone) into the Well at the World’s End.

I personally fall into what should be an easily avoidable wormhole in two seemingly innocent ways. The first is when I go to YouTube to catch up on the four or five video podcasts I follow and enjoy. Unfortunately the folks at Google tempt me with dozens of related or semi-related videos that seem to promise arcane knowledge of digital watches or at least a few minutes of entertainment ranging from mild humor to sexual enticement. My favorites tend to involve food porn (especially street food, down and dirty), classic rock covers played on obscure asian instruments, and videos displaying the my favorite comedian-du-jour (Lewis Black  rocks!). I also still insist on watching the How-To video whenever I need to restring my ukulele.

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Lucia di Yammermore

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After I had my stroke in 2001 I was confined to the first floor of the house and was all alone when my wife went to work each day. We decided I needed a dog for a companion: one that was easy to care for and hypo-allergenic. We got Luci (Lucia di Yammermoor), a small maltese, pure white, and so tiny I brought her home in my baseball cap. When the time cme we took Luci to training and she became my care dog, companion, and good friend.

Two weeks ago Luci stopped eating and tests showed that her kidneys had shut down. She was over sixteen and had a good life, still the final decision was difficult to make. I took Luci to the vet yesterday and had her put to sleep: euthanasia seemed a more humane option than watching her internal organs fail one by one just too keep her around a few days longer.

It still hurts, though.

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The Tale of Two Atlantis’s

images-1.jpgSearching through lists of unread texts I have squirreled away in my little library, I came across several unread pieces by an author I once loved greatly but hadn’t read in years and years: Ursula K. Le Guin. I actually discover Le Guin because she was the daughter of the anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber of Ishi fame (what, you don’t know all about Ishi, the last of his tribe  who single-handedly waged war on the United States and later lived out his life in a San Francisco museum?).

Back in the sixties when Le Guin started being published, there was a youthful movement directed at getting closer to mankind’s roots and living in a more direct relationship with the earth and its bounty. It was a time of Diggers and Hippies and Communes and an emphasis on accepting responsibility for the whole earth. Le Guin’s imaginative fiction reflected these themes and became very popular.

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The Axe For the Frozen Sea

images.jpg… the times were not what they once were: the desire for pure knowledge had vanished, and all that fathers now wanted for was their sons to get ahead in life, which meant that, if they were to receive any schooling at all, it should be something useful like bookkeeping rather than the fables, literature, and philosophy that Hayyim Nacht was cramming their heads with.

—A Simple Story by S. Y. Agnon

Having experienced college level counseling in the last twenty years, it’s obvious to me that this sentiment expressed by S. Y. Agnon is true and flourishing today. I suspect it is a major tenet of neoliberalism that reduces literature, philosophy, and critical thinking to unnecessary entertainments and rewards the greed and selfishness of the marketplace with wealth and power.

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