Of Politics, Pokemon, And Surviving The Collector Gene

Mankind survives because of the collector gene.

If you don’t believe me,

think about the family next door to you.

The ones who,

due to the fact that your great-grandmother

collected odd bits and pieces of everything that came into the stores

(and junkyards)

in the way of electric do-hickeys,

from the time the first light bulbs and fuses made their bakelite and tungsten debuts,

can now plug one of those ca 1920 fuses into their highly antiquated

and probably illegal

wiring,

and keep the overpriced “fixer-upper” house they bought,

out of desperation,

running for the next year or so,

While they put their small fix-it budget to work

on the kids room first.

Or use it to buy better air mattresses,

so they can sleep in the nearly workable kitchen.

Which means that,

from time immemorial,

when women collected the saber-tooth intestines

to make violin strings,

and brontosaurus teeth,

to make beer bottle openers,

women ruled.

And mankind survived.

More or less.

There are two small exceptions, though.

  1. Politics.

And

2. Pokemons.

Not that it isn’t nice to see both of the above

emblazoned,

in garish colors,

on the front of all public buildings,

with, possibly the exception of public monuments,

or places of assembly,

or areas you have to walk past on your way to work.

And as long as no one runs over any picture takers,

or flattens someone with a Pokemon ball.

Or a political poster on a stick…

However,

to put it in a nutshell,

as a cartoon a friend sent me states:

“Ok, enough with the fun and games already.

So where are the real candidates?”

Or, to paraphrase it for modern times,

why do our candidates all look

and act

like pokemons.

Popping up all the time in weird places,

playing weird music,

making weird sounds that almost sound sort of like human speech.

As we spend immense amounts of time,

effort,

and money,

trying to understand how the game is played,

or just to understand how not to get bulldozed by them all.

And as for the collector gene:

theoretically,

men shoot it,

we women collect it.

So why aren’t any modern men out there putting all those

politicians,

both male and female,

who are supposedly involved,

and real,

but aren’t,

and pokemons,

ditto,

out of their misery.

(In a non-violent “oh yes we can, just vote none of the above” way.)

Or, asked slightly differently,

why,

since I worked so hard all my life,

in “men’s” professions,

and did darned well at them, thank you very much,

should I vote for someone just because she is female.

Or Swiss.

Because I live here in Gutenberg land.

And heaven forbid, I should not choose my candidate because of religion, race, or who their partner and children are.

So, as one of the “non-collecting”

non Pokemon

or poke-a-man, for that matter,

females

I’d like to mention a few suggestions I have.

  1. There is a place in Europe, (called Belgium,) which can not decide between the French-speaking Walloons and the Germanic speaking Flemish.  So to prevent fighting, they simply had no government. And didn’t missed one for years. Sounds good to me.
  2. There is an area of Germany, called the Hunsruck mountains, picture the Appalachians, where the locals have fought for generations just to survive nature, ie barren rocky land, not much grows, and ice-cold Siberian style winters, not to mention various idiot governments, so they simply made up a candidate- no such person exists, and all went well, until, many years later,  the person couldn’t be found in the official birth files (to wish him a happy birthday) and was marked dead. So the locals elected another fake person. Now that is couth.
  3. There is an area of Illinois that regularly, and I admit this was told to me privately, by a friend in a small-town, and I can’t find it to verify it, elects John. Q Rabbit, a sort of partnership of two farmers, one of whom governs Mondays Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, since he has fewer children than the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday half. The system supposedly works well. I’d vote for them. (Although, I do think they could each take a day per week off, and nothing would change, as far as I can tell.

But then, I am a non-collecting, non-gathering non-politopoke female,

who would like to see, just for once in my lifetime,

someone elected because he or she is logical,

the best candidate,

has done nothing illegal,

and can open his or her mouth without promising something they won’t keep.

Someone like Mr Spock.

(Not the baby doctor)

Or maybe a team, like Sheldon Cooper and Penny,

Or, even better,

Perhaps someone like Sherlock Holmes.

Maybe in the Cumberbatch version.

And if we can create them on tv and film,

why on earth can’t the candidates watch a few of the episodes,

plus maybe the Waltons, or Little House on the Prairie,

and finally learn something.

Or am I the only one who thinks they have all been watching Game of Thrones?

Copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

ABCDEFGH…

Reading Trinity’s blog yesterday,

something well worth doing,

I discovered she is taking part in something called the A through Z challenge.

And is up to X

Which got me thinking.

Always a dangerous situation.

(No, that is not D)

And since I have a (very) few minutes to write this morning

(no, that was not V)

I thought I would hit a few keys

Metaphorically speaking

(no, that was not M)

and see what comes out.

So here are the few tiny wisps of alphabetic information

sliding joyfully and synaptically

through my mind at the moment:

(maybe that was W)

Here goes:

A is for Alliteration:

As in

All aardvarks advance adventurously Atlantic-wards.

(Except that  alliteration is only for consonants. How awkward.)

belligerently, the badgers block their path.

Centipedes drum their legs in concern.

Daringly, the aardvarks advance.

Denying their definition.

Eventually, elephants,

alliterative existence endangered,

emote.

Ta ru ta ru

(neither t nor r)

Forward-facing frontline fish fan fins ferociously.

Galloping griping gnus

gather gourmet pomegranates.

Harlequin haardvarks

(the h-inserting among the English non-alliteratives)

hurriedly hand round Harrow applications.

innumerable itinerant iguana

identify with the cause,

joyfully joining.

Katastrophe.

Lemurs and Linns lovingly letter-

in  linux-

while marsupials munch mapples

(m-inserting, since from down under)

and make maps

for naked mole-rats

busy (k)nitting nighties

to sooth the sensibilities  of non-nudist neighbors

like the overly optimistic otters

or over-feathered ostriches,

who know that

perpetual perambulation persuades.

Quite quickly.

Right, wrote the wrought-up

Right we have, right we are.

And right we turn,

squeaked the sentient but somnambulant

Tuer mouse (a German dormouse)

Trying to get a word in

in the terrifying alliterating tumult.

Useful, said the uakari monkey,

red in the face from the exertion of alliterating.

Very very,

added the vole,

who normally had his abode in the home of the verger

of Westminster cathedral.

X-cept for

Yesterday,

when he decided to join

the assonance-accepting alliterators

of the zoo-zone.

Zowie.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

My Hippie Name? Generation Pig-headed

Anyone else out there notice

that since the animal rights people started to go against branding animals,

we started “branding” people?

You have, of course, the standards:

3 picture identification cards required for financial transactions,

Masses of different forms of social media:

“choose one word that describes you”

who’s on,

What’s up,

people check,

“If you had a hippie name what would it be?”

(read on, we will give you one)

drivers’ license number,

“what is your dream car”

social security “last four please”

passwords,

“1111 isn’t really good. Click here and we will read all of your brandings and generate you one”

post box combinations

“if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?”

and bike lock, car alarm, and locker numbers.

“please do not use Daisy Duck 2”

And as if that isn’t enough digit-al challenging,

now we have been assigned to a “generation.”

Starting way back when the US census bureau noticed a bump in the birth rate,

and named it the “baby boomers.”

It seemed easier to explain that way, apparently.

Baby boomers were those born between 1946, and 1964.

Those who started as the joy of being alive after the second world war ended,

and ended with the introduction of the pill.

The generation of Fountainhead Revisited, Catcher in the Rye, and Laugh-in.

Then, one day, in a fit of remembrance born of a great sense of observation, and the need to get things down,

Tom Brokaw branded the “Greatest generation:”

those who fought in WWII,

and produced the baby boomers.

The Generation of Showboat, South Pacific, Father Knows Best, and Leave It to Beaver.

Good, kind, decent, hard-working,

with plans for their offspring.

Who still had names,

even if they were often Junior

and Bubba.

But not R2D2 at Radon.com

And since it was all good,

and people felt better in a crazy world with something to hang on to,

the Harvard Center invented generation x-

Born 1965-84

this was the so-called ” baby bust” generation,

so say they ie someone whose hippie name is probably harvest moonsong

at the Harvard center,

and “generation y”

by those

not called harvest moonsong,

who didn’t know what else to call the children born from anywhere from mid seventies to mid 2000 in general-

a  generation made up of in-betweens-

not cool like the generation before,

but not really enough kids to make up a generation as defined by the Harvard Center.

And then we have the Millenials:

born between 1982-2004

as named by Strauss and Howe

(curious bear, and note-taking water buffalo?)

who define it as an age of:

cultural minorities only,

division,

and virtual communication.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Time will tell.

My real favorite, though,

put together,

in my opinion,

when someone needed a finale to their piece on the generations,

is the TBD (to be decided) generation:

kids born in the last ten plus years,

who still have to be “defined”

ie branded,

ie no information on them.

Yet.

Until they choose their hippie name

“He who plays baseball?”

“He who is running bare-oops bear, ”

or

“He who likes orange popsicles?”

Enjoy, kids.

Or until the list of their favorite music gets collected.

And maybe that is the answer for the generation name.

The Justin Bieber generation.

Or the new generation y?

Maybe the generation y not.

A generation, in my opinion,

with just as many smarts,

just as much talent,

and potential,

as the greatest generation.

If we teach them to use it.

Instead,

at least in an article I just read,

they are momentarily defined,

in my opinion,

in such a way

that writers and pseudo-prophets have a group to call the potential worst.

Hey all you great kids of the post-millenial generation:

Stop chasing Pokemons,

and use your own talents.

Show them how wrong they are.

Do it for the Gipper.

Copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Re-tirement, And Other Wheelie Important Topics

When we bought our most recent car,

which we had to,  since our last was turned into a cube by a much bigger and more unfriendly vehicle,

we decided that,

since there are only a few,

like at the most three,

days of snow per year here,

but the days we do have are hefty,

with more snow dropped at one time than I remember from my years in:

“what do you mean you can’t find the car, it’s right there under that huge snowdrift-

just follow the cable to the light bulb under the hood to keep the motor from freezing”

Illinois.

And here the fallen stuff hangs around for weeks.

That means snow tires.

And a very very strange only here in Gutenberg Land system-

but you do have to admire the ingenuity.

ie

you buy two sets of tires,

summer and winter,

then the company where you buy your car,

and who has a gigantic number of car dealerships,

all brands,

like little spokes sticking out from a wheel,

and who have a GIGANTIC

common underground repair shop and storage area,

sock you fifty a year to change tires, balance, etc-

you have to give them credit, they do do a good job-

and to store everything in your own private tire locker for six months while the other ones are on.

Then you get a date,

some time in late July usually,

to have the summer tires put on.

And some time in September

to have the winter ones put on.

Which means the tires hum a bit on the road in summer,

but hey, the system works.

Approximately.

And then, of course, there is the fee,

should you need new tires,

for proving you recycled the old ones.

Anyone else out there remember piles of smoking tires as a kid?

Or all the great tire swings,

on long long chains,

where you could get on on top of a cliff,

swing down,

drop out,

and swim in the river for a while?

Nope.

Here the swings are made by companies who check, and regularly inspect, the correctness and safety of the play equipment,

which is a good thing, I’m sure, for the health of the kids,

but still,

once you have played Tarzan…

Anyway, here, you have to prove your tires were recycled.

And either cut into bits to re-use,

or re-treaded,

for sale to countries that don’t have the number of inspectors we do.

(I once had a dream,

where I was at an inspectors’ conference,

and  had to be inspected,

because I was a teacher,

and had to inspect the kids

and their work,

so I had to line up for my inspector’s inspection.

And in the end, I got a little inspector’s badge-

cheap silver-colored metal,

like the little badges you get in breakfast cereal boxes.

But I couldn’t put it on until it had been inspected.

And had a little tag  “inspected by number 9”

I wonder who inspected number 9?)

Which brings me back to re-tirement,

and government inspections.

And badges.

And the fact that after I was inspected by the great ladies, and gents,

of Sisters in Crime,

and the members of the steering committee

(how was that for sneaky?)

And joined up,

and I was absolutely over the rainbow because I was a real member,

I bought myself a badge.

Just for me.

Hey, because it makes me feel happy, ok?

It’s in the shape of an open book.

with the words “It was a dark and stormy night…”

And hanging from the book

are a tiny axe, knife, and magnifying glass.

Yo ho ho.

Any pirates out there,

in need of re-tirement?

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Spam, Spam, and Spam.

Yesterday we here in Gutenberg Land got hit by thirty degrees Celsius.

That’s the high eighties, for those in Fahrenheit only countries.

And although it’s not really unusual here-

We’ve had high body temperature to raging fever range in July on occasion-

the gist of the problem is:

We’re one of those three days of snow per year but relatively cool all the rest of the time type areas.

Meaning:

hit the eighties, temperatures soar.

Bodies stop moving.

Or start twitching like waterless fish.

And then, as the cold drinks, salads and ice-cream run out:

The cars overheat,

And tempers flare,

Till the entire population of Gutenberg Land strips naked

and pushes their way into a chlorine-challenged

far too small

public swimming pool.

Or the children’s showings of Alvin and the Chipmunks,

(with a few clothes on: ie super short shorts, three-D glasses,

and white cotton knee socks with sandals,

the height of summer fashion here in Gutenberg Land)

because the multiplex movie house is cooled.

Or revs up the BBQ grills,

since then you can’t tell whether you are hot from the grills,

or the weather.

We, of course, were rather sure we could tell the difference.

So yesterday, we obtrusive and pig-headed types

who did our schooling in the California desert,

and wear sandals with thin jeans and no socks,

did, what for us, was the smart thing-

and also the only thing to do since the only edibles in the house were dried minestrone soup beans.

We went grocery shopping.

In the cooled produce department:

Masses of fruit, real vegetables.

All local,

since, although there is an actual strip mall in our area,

a sort of mini-Walmart,

Germans insist on local produce when attainable,

as part of the super-super-super strict ecology laws here.

And if you don’t believe me, try throwing away plastic without putting it in one of the several yellow recycling bins on the property.

So there we were,

leaving cherry-zucchini-eggplant  heaven,

headed for home,

self-brought reusable rucksack and grocery carriers in hand,

when we hit on an idea.

Water.

Dehydration rears its ugly head.

We will die in this desert before reaching home again-

All of two miles away.

So we headed to Subway-

yes, we have them here-

one of the few places that sells drinks that are non-alcoholic

bio-fruited water.

And, as we sat there,

sipping, and looking at the signs of how you have to order your sandwich,

in case you can still read in the massive heat,

we suddenly both started laughing.

Because we were both thinking,

simultaneously,

as we sometimes do,

of the time,

just before greater London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens,

decided to put in a fancy tea room,

with pure bio oat, non-hydroginated oil, brown sugar only

uncooked cookie bars,

and a luncheon bar with free-ranging chickens

(does that mean they have a marathon badge?)

bio potato chips-

they call them that because they are actually made of beets,

or parsnips,

or carrots,

and we would get off the snail train,

walk down the then unelevated station pathway,

in great risk of life and limb,

and cross the multi-laned highway,

to out-manoeuver the lorry drivers

for a place in the queue,

to get a bap (bread roll)

with:

spam and egg,

spam, egg, and beans,

spam, egg, chips and beans,

spam spam spam ham and spam.

None of which really surprised us.

I had lived as a child in Hawaii,

where the birthday cake is made with spam.

Truly.

No, what surprised us then,

and for many joyful years after,

until they took down the sign,

was that there were well over 165 variations,

many of which were the same,

but in different order,

and all, without exception,

with different prices.

And the best thing,

was that the sign was hand-written.

In large letters.

In black crayon.

On a piece of cardboard as big as the front of the kiosk.

And, as I seem to remember,

the first time we were there,

we were so shocked,

we checked the list.

As the line moved around us,

until, in the end, almost everything was sold out,

and we took white tea

and what we could get.

Beans on a bap.

The next year, we started the bap surprise lottery:

calling out a number each,

as we reached the tiny kitchen turning out all that wonderment.

And I must admit,

that even though we never knew what we were getting,

and the laughter got louder each time we were there

and started correcting each other that we had surely eat number 162 with BP sauce before,

we never had anything that didn’t taste great.

(As opposed to free-range rucola on a bed of domesticated goat Stilton.)

I really miss the old kiosk thing.

Especially at 6 am

I wonder if that is where Monty Python got their idea for the song.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Now You’re Cooking

I was about six when I cooked my first meal.

Scrambled eggs.

I don’t really remember why I did it,

except my father had cancer at the time,

my mother was teaching and constantly exhausted,

and we kids were up at all kinds of hours

and constantly starving.

All I remember is I made breakfast for four,

at about four am,

made half the eggs into toast sandwiches,

got on my bike, with my younger brother in the basket,

and disappeared for a couple of hours.

(This was a farming community, and in those days, the only danger was the neighbor’s bull)

And that when my parents got up about eight thirty,

they wanted to know why there were ice cold scrambled eggs and soggy toast on the table.

I think we told them something about the tooth fairy,

and spent the rest of the day in our rooms

for having a smart mouth.

The second time I learned to cook

was campfire stew and somores

in the girlscouts.

Since we had to lash our shelves and the tripod we cooked on,

it was an adventure I never repeated.

Even if the stew did taste great.

As a senior scout, I learned to coat angelfood cake in eggs and milk and coconut.

And toast it on branches over a campfire.

I seem to remember it had a strange name.

And burnt fast.

And I don’t remember anyone else on the planet except girlscouts eating it.

Please tell me I’m wrong.

Then there was my time as a young bride,

with both of us living on bread, cheese, raw veg, and fruit,

or what we could grab at the college coffee shop,

and top ramen made with hot tap water.

Which actually tastes pretty good when you are teaching 8 am to 8 pm

with your own grad student classes in the middle.

Then I moved to Germany,

and learned the basics of German cooking:

  1. The mother-in-law is always right.
  2. You have no idea what you are doing and must be constantly tutored by the mother-in-law
  3. All German recipes (if you are born before 1965) start with: fry diced fatback or fat bacon and onions, add flour, serve on potato dumplings… This is good for anything from fish to soup.  (And a local delicacy consisting of fried carrots in bacon sauce with potato dumplings.)

After which, I bough a microwave.

And some microwave cooking dishes-

outrageously expensive over here.

And taught myself to cook.

The recipe for crabcakes from the Joy of Cooking-

Nope.

How to make the foods for a formal dinner party.

By Dr. Oetker-

A wedding present-

Nope.

In the end, I taught myself:

  1. Raw is best.
  2. Anything you can make into a salad you can make into soup.

(There are several African dishes that consist of stew on lettuce. It tastes great)

And vegetables we as Americans don’t usually cook,

like lettuce, chicoree, cucumber,

are great with a little tomato and a small amount of low fat sheep’s cheese as a topping.

3. If you’re going to spice a stew, do it right:

chili spices. Indian spices. Italian spiced farmhouse soup

4. the average person needs a couple of vegs, a small amount of protein, and a piece or two of fruit per day.

5. If you look at the really fantastic recipes –

I have a Michelin star chef in my choir, who, one day, for my birthday, brought a chocolate mousse.

(with enough Amaretto that you had to stay away from the candles)

His view of food: good quality, local, simple, all  the tastes

ie a salad dressing should be balsamico vinegar, oil, lemon, honey.

And if you really want to try the all the tastes thing out: put a tiny tiny pinch of salt in good black tea, and add a small amount of lemon.

Absolute heaven.

By the way, my singing chef didn’t think a whole lot of my tuna surprise casserole recipe. (From seventh grade home-making)

Not even the version with the cashews and crushed potato chips on the top.

No accounting for taste.

Oh, and one final observation,

for Americans living in Germany.

Over here, the basis of whether a woman is a “real” woman or not:

no matter what you do for a living, or how hard you work as a mother or homemaker,  it all boils down to

1. who does the cooking

2. can you make gravy that tastes so good your persnickety guests get out the desert spoon to capture the last drops from the gravy boat.

Period.

Forty years after Betty Friedan,

That’s the basis.

So…

I learned years ago to not compete.

I cook simple quality food,

un-thickened un-greasy Chinese buffet,

or American recipes with no gravy,

arranged to look nice

ie a taco salad in a glass bowl so you can see everything in layers is always a hit with younger guests,

or small open-faced toasted sandwiches with a fancy salad with all kinds of colors and shoots and seeds.

And for desert, lay it on them.

Brownies.

Low fat, of course.

With fresh whipped cream and a cherry.

Or latticed apple pie with icecream and cheddar.

Or small you-make Sundaes.

You can bet that, even with the bad-mouthing about no gravy

on their way home,

One week later, they will be serving the recipes to all their friends.

As something they learned from an American.

And all without gravy.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Enough With Schroedinger’s Cat Already

It’s conference season here in Gutenberg Land.

And since the U is out,

but the foreign speakers, visiting scholars, and of course main plenary speakers are arriving,

things are getting really hot.

As in:

for those who don’t know about Gutenberg U,

one of the most interesting facts is the symbol of the university,

the twin towers.

Ie

at the front of the U an ancient horse cavalry stall,

with widows’ walk and conning tower,

that was turned into, for some odd reason,

the main math lecture hall,

and a very picturesque masonette rabbit warren math student dorm.

In beautiful old oak

and ancient desks you can’t get out of easily,

if you were at one of the ongoing series of late night sangria parties.

That was from after the end of WWII

till the late sixities.

A time when,

as it said in the teaching assistants’ contracts,

to the duties of the assistants belonged:

chopping wood,

removing fallen bricks and cleaning them,

cleaning and restoring books to the library,

and feeding and milking the professor’s goat.

Yup, goat.

Now, of course, the times have changed.

There are no longer professors with goats.

Only with ancient Citroens,

known over here as the five buck duck,

which is what they used to cost back when they still had a crank to start them.

Which was one of the duties of the nineteen seventies students.

Today, what with moon rocks,

and linear accelerators,

and Max Plank institutes in ever increasing amounts,

the front of the university has been appropriated by the admin people,

who have their own entrance with entry card and everything.

Not to mention a fountain and roses!

Math is now at the back of the U,

near the twenty-something story student dorm that is now empty,

since no student can stand the ever-increasing noise of the Frankfurt airport’s ever more copious 10 pm to five am fly-overs.

And this is where you also, in a long-stretched square of balconied buildings,

find Physics, Computer Science,

and Psychology.

(none of us understand that either)

And, of course the mensa,

the flying saucer shaped University dining hall.

(And no,  they did not move and reconnect the underground tunnel between the old biology department, and the old dining hall.

Not that there wasn’t a lot of speculation when the linear accelerator was connected,

the bio department started pushing narcoticized sheep on guerneys into elevators in the nearby bio sciences department,

and the university dining hall suddenly stopped serving mystery meat and started serving tofu steaks.

The result of which was a lot of discussion about the fact that a vegan protest group had secretly blocked the underground tunnel half way.

Which, since this is a U known for a department of Romance languages which tore down the walls between two departments and moved their books in secretly at night,

and a chem lab where someone forgot to install water pipes in the emergency showers

no one really disbelieves.

There is, of course, also the fact that absolutely no one,

under threat of severe whiteboard withdrawal,

mentions the words Schroedinger’s cat any more.

Yes, Schroedinger’s cat has well and truly disappeared.

And, except for the theoretical physicists,

and Penny,

on The Big Bang Theory,

apparently no one else really noticed.

Or cares.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

What, More Pokemons? Where Is Harvey When We Need Him?

In this age of facebook, Pokemon, and Big Brother,

with or without House,

I am one of the probably few remaining friends of the great Elwood P Dowd.

(Others please drop a note. We are a vanishing breed)

See,

For those of you who don’t know who that is,

Elwood P is the hero of the 1945 Pulitzer Prize winning play Harvey,

by Mary Chase,

a hard-working Irish-American journalist  from Boulder, Colorado.

(Important for the theme)

And also the sixth longest running play ever to be presented on Broadway.

It was filmed in 1950,

starring the great Jimmy Stewart as a decent, kind, reasonable man,

of whom today one might say he understands the world

and just plain doesn’t want to live there.

His house is shared by a social climbing sister and her daughter,

from whom,

among others, he flees…

to a world of kind, decent, and most of all tolerant,

people of all walks of life he meets in his local tav.

Where he takes his, there totally accepted, friend Harvey.

A pookah

(Or Puka, or pooka)

In other words,

a six foot three and a half

giant invisible rabbit.

I think I always liked that part best.

The exactitude,

the perfection of the description.

And the fact that, being raised near St Louis,

Land of the Veiled Prophet and his court,

complete with huge parade,

and to an Irish-American family,

complete with “way back then, in the old country, in the days of Brian Boru…”

you are born with all of the extras:

fairies, goblins, pookahs, the little people,

not moving house without making a bottle of Irish whiskey and milk for the fairies who will accompany you.

And somehow, even though I know it is family nonsense,

it is my family nonsense,

and makes me feel part of the long tradition,

and of something actually very important in all this.

Non-violence is good.

Be silly instead.

Creativity is good.

Use it for good.

Life is good.

And if you tell the truth,

and be true to your standards,

those who watch over you will always be there.

Which is why I love Elwood P so much.

And his buddy Harvey.

His social climbing sister can’t give the kind of dinner parties she wants,

to make herself important,

so she tries to have Elwood committed.

Exluded from the family unit,

so she can take over his house.

And wants to have him given chemicals that will stop his creative visits with his friends.

And ends up finally learning what friends like Elwood and Harvey really are.

And are worth.

And what family is.

Or should be.

Personally, I think, in this age of sell, sell, sell,

and that reality is sickness and injury and death,

and friends are the people who once went to school with you,

and now insist on fighting  with you on the internet,

everyone should be given a copy of Harvey at birth.

And every time a major event in the family occurs,

graduation from kindergarten, for example,

the family should sit down together,

and laugh, and discuss Harvey.

And tell those bizarre jokes about peanuts,

or shaggy dogs,

and throw butterless popcorn at one another,

and laugh til you roll on the floor.

And sing together.

The silly songs you normally don’t learn  till you become a scout.

Or join a glee club.

And then you talk about the important things.

And fears that don’t have to be.

And that one way or another you will always be together.

And sing the circle remains unbroken.

And if you think of every new ending,

and every new beginning,

and the seven ages of man,

according to our William S,

is there anyone out there

who doesn’t need to watch Harvey

at least seven times in his life?

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Pokemon Go. Away.

One of my relatives is Pokemon mad.

Which I assume, from the little bit of reading I did on it,

has something to do with Californian culture

and Japanese cartoons.

Nuff said.

What I didn’t figure on,

especially in these days of news programs filled with violence and killings,

Brexit,

and, in general, unbelievably stupid and niveauless US election candidates,

was that someone would take the chance at this time

to develop a game where you upload an app to tell you where to go,

(boy, would I like to have the rights to develop the app to tell a few companies where to go)

Sorry.

So this manga thing, is that apparently the company that markets Pokemon

has linked something to navigation, or maybe it is google maps,

and it tells you where in your town to walk

(get more exercise)

while listening to sort of kids cartoon style music

and taking pictures of you with Pokemons.

And meeting up with team members,

and collecting things called Pokemon balls,

or visiting Pokemon shops,

set up for the purpose,

to buy Pokemon merchandise.

The entire town is wired.

Blue toothed?

And you can even chase by car,

if you take someone as navigator,

officially called a Pokemon catcher.

The idea is fun, team spirit, more exercise…

Unfortunately,

in the true spirit of the age of no one has any peace and quiet any more,

or the right to do what they want with their lives,

the Pokemon people,

at least in the town where my relatives live,

sort of um “forgot” to ask  the local business people,

ie fitness studios, frozen yoghurt shops,

whether they wanted their shop,

or in one case, a famous museum,

to be a hot-point for Pokemon pictures.

What I found, when I checked, was

oops, we sort of targeted you.

Now don’t be a bad sport

and sell or give out our Pokemon balls and merchandise for us.

(one frozen yoghurt shop put up a sign, Pokemon balls to customers only-  this is considered in bad taste.)

And as for the museum,

it bothered me a lot-

hey, I’m old school-

to look at a beautiful botanical garden,

and a gallery with exhibitions of real art

coated with Pokemon.

(And Pokemon seekers)

The thing is, I can remember a trip to a botanical garden,

at Easter,

where all the kids got to hunt Easter eggs,

on the basis of donations requested to pay for it

and to help keep up the gardens.

It was a normal part of civic duty.

And a whole lot of fun.

And then everyone went for a guided walk

to look at the Easter flowers.

I still treasure that memory.

Now we have Pokemon balls.

And the worst things,

from my stand point,

is all the beauty in the world

the kids today aren’t seeing.

Anyone else ever spend an afternoon with relatives picking just the perfect fall leaf,

in just the right colors,

and putting it up in your room until it finally fell to dust

just about the time the new spring shoots

and first leaves appeared on the trees?

Oh, and the worst about this whole story,

since I’m one of the ones that follows the news from where I was raised,

is that three robbers in my old home town area,

completely abnormal lunatics,

used guns,

and the Pokemon app,

to target people to rob at gunpoint.

And since this is happening for real,

in a Pokemon world,

I really don’t know whether to be sad for everyone involved,

that yes, of course,

or angry that this is how far we have come with our stupid avoidance of reality in order to live in a plastic manga world,

which makes us targets for the mentally ill,

or just make dumb jokes about Pokemon balls.

So I don’t have to think about life in Orwell’s 1984.

Yup, I think the dumb jokes.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Since this Pokemon thing has now gone nova, the Gutenberger, actually the Gutenberger in a small factory and warehouse suburb,

have also started chasing small manga critters.

My only  consolation being, that the server here is so overloaded that no one can play from six at night to seven in the morning.

It must be the wonder-working Catholic church in their town.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Welcome To The Month Of Möbius

Here in Gutenberg Land,

we have now entered the phenomenon

known as the month of Möbius:

The time when everything that was inside suddenly turns on itself

and becomes outside.

Winter iceskating suddenly becomes in-line skating,

racing in huge  packs of fifty or more

yelling loudly as they race through the nearly dark streets.

Wearing skin-tight leotards

and helmets with flashlights, no less.

And the once per week “stammtisch”-

the table of regulars who meet to play a German wildcat card game called skat,

or discuss politics,

or the good old days,

or drink after a meeting of the local choir

or hobby group,

becomes a group that travels to the nearest available waterhole,

or sits outdoors under a tree,

and drinks watered (on purpose) drinks,

and laughs loudly,

and discusses politics,

and the good old days

in much larger groups.

(And as the sun goes down, and it is finally cool enough to eat,

to eat grilled hot dogs or onion-filled pork steaks.)

And then, of course, there are the winter wine-tastings,

that suddenly, with the full moon days,

and the long warm summer evenings,

become outdoor tables at a hut in the woods,

that sells only local wine

and pretzels, or goose-grease on bread.

And then, of course,

there are the wine festivals.

New wine, potent,

and dangerous,

because it tastes only of grape juice.

If it is streaky white

(white feathers)

stay with one glass only.

Then the new Beaujolais,

the prosecco evenings with outdoor showings of film classics

like Casablanca.

And of course, at the end of August, start of September, the entire place goes mad with wine festivals,

not part of my culture,

but very much a part of the culture here,

with wine a major part of the trade balance.

(And, of course, drinker or not, the view from the top of the high terraced mountainous vinyards is absolutely breaktaking.)

Or from the local castles-

of which we have an incredible contingent here in Gutenberg land.

All up and down the Rhine.

And the 05 football fans, the big red, meet not to watch football,

at least their football,

but for outdoor showings of the Europe cup,

or old game tapes.

Or just to sing the local fight songs.

Then there are the local carnival clubs,

who often go on vacation together to plan the new campaign,

which starts in November.

And the cheerleaders, “dance mice” ie the youth dance groups,

can-can clubs, etc

do outdoor tournee  dancing,

or  public performances,

often at the wine festivals.

And, of course, this is the month when mathematicians here in Gutenberg land finally have a month off from work.

And head off on vacation.

To a place the wives, or male partners,

have carefully chosen to not be anywhere near a university or a library, or a conference,

and have tried,

at least three times,

to unpack the math books in their luggage,

only to discover that they are actually staying quite near the famous Fields institute,

and that math hubby has,

sometime between unpacking, and dinner,

managed to get himself invited to give a lecture.

Which is why math wives always carry a small computer,

with lots of writing work to do.

Hey outside is outside.

And it could be worse, of course.

The wife of a musician friend,

the cantor of a class A (cathedral) church,

told me that after she insisted they go off to a house in the country with their children,

where no one could find him,

he bought a middle-sized pump organ,

and fit it into a u-haul trailer they rented,

so he could practice daily before his concert series in September.

And since there wasn’t any room left in the u-haul,

after he put in the music and bench, etc

she and the kids had to sit on the suitcases.

All the way to France.

copyright Dunnasead.co 2016