And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Night Of The Great Cosmic Vampire Squid

Last night my husband and I watched a science fiction show-

what else do you watch when you studied literature,

and he is a scientist?

And suddenly,

while thinking that what I really needed,

in this retro-scientific noir atmosphere-

that was bigger on the inside than the outside-

and that was the show-

was a cup of tea.

That was bigger on the inside than on the outside.

At which point in time,

considering the different possibilites-

Constant Comment left over from a several years hence trip to the States-

my husband’s dried  bio correct organic mint leaves you have to crush,

and sieve,

and add water…

Or a cheap bag of Lipton,

which is sold for an amount

about the same as a used mini-cooper,

over here as “direct import from Paris”-

don’t ask me why,

it suddenly dawned on me-

at a point in the story

where an engineer,

in a zoot suit and spats,

suddenly is attacked by a metal salt shaker-

yelling “exterminate”

in a raspy voice-

probably due to all the salt in the shaker,


despite my husband’s yells of “bring me one too-why has he got a squid on his head?”

“He’s a Dalek”

“Did it say that in the Wikipedia?”

like I said- scientist-


  1. we were out of Lipton
  2. a half man half salt shaker- in a zoot suit and spats- had a squid on his head…. and
  3. voila- follow closely- here is my Eureka idea for the day:

*a squid on the head of a man normally spits ink into the water

to muddy the waters

so he can get away,

or eat something in peace-

like the brain of a man in a zoot suit and spats

with a squid on his head.

Now should said squid

actually be an alien,

that normally looks like a metal salt shaker-

does it still want to get away?

And is there something Freudian about the fact

that there is something sexual about all of this

although there is no real water anywhere-

except ouside the Empire State building-

and wow, is that Freudian,

Or is this all just a Jungian slip-

I assume one of those little red speedos Jung wore,

as did Freud,

although, over here in Gutenberg land,

where the slip is not only a pair of underwear,

it is also a tie,

or a Freudian problem with the tongue


when taken over,

and filled out with weird pictures

by his student Jung,

or his follower, nobel prize winner Hermann Hesse,

who spent a lot of time on top of a magic mountain

with his followers,

many of whom are friends of Magic mushrooms,

and Castaneda,

now many many years out of fashion,

since the arrival of subliminal blend ins,

and “second brown dwarf suns”

has a bit muddied the waters-

probably due to all that ink,

coming from the entrails

of a squid,

on the head of

a 1929 spats and zoot suiter,

who apparently wants love

and peace,

and morphs into a sixties hippie,

who eventually morphs into a person who writes blogs

about entrails

and squid,

and actually only wants a peaceful cup of tea,

as she writes murder mysteries

about blunt Nibliks,

which she reads to her better half,

as someone,

in a galaxy far far away,

extracts the text from the head of a zoot-suiter in spats,

(actually, the spats might be from Bertie Wooster)

and sends it out to all the world,

with its message of peace,

and joy,

and when you kill a Dalek,

be sure to use a blunt Niblik.


copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Chariots Of The Pods.

I get a truly wonderful info page regularly,

called Geek News-

great fun over breakfast,

especially if you are married to a scientist

whose comments are usually along the lines of “they say what,,,?

as they hold you a lecture on why Isaac Newton would not be amused.

And you retreat into a wonderful joyful early early morning world of

declaiming husband,

roaming animals,

background noise level news,


extra-large extra pitch black Irish tea,

(extra brought back from a vacation,)

sipping slowly,

while trying to avoid frustration eating,

as you read the gentile popularized science reports,

which are very erudite,

and so fully guaranteed to make you feel

that you are with it in the modern ever evolving world

where Muskrats rule the day.

(You’re not!- but no one under the age of thirty-five recognizes that,

so if you  are over thirty-five

just accept it:


that you will never will be at home in a world

where it is normal to not know which part of your body

will be linked up or part of a machine next.

(To test how much of you is human, tap the small box “I am not a robot”

on the captha reminders.

If a little check mark appears,l

you weren’t a robot,

but you are now.)

And then,

in the middle of all my grousing,

(actually I prefer to think of it as Jules Verne-ism)

and smiling at witticism about alphas and epsilons I don’t really understand,

there was the Geek groupy epithora-

that moment when you step out of the Tardis,

and realize the darned thing has put you down somewhere it wasn’t really programmed to take you

as far as you know.


We are entering a near future,

where we will travel four hundred miles in just eight minutes-

after first entering  a small six man pod-

which then enters a concrete tube

(concrete tube ? As in no windows?

So how will I know that I am in Switzerland

except that the compartment is now perfectly clean,

and small mountain shaped chocolates

are laid out on my armrest)

The said tube being airless

say what?

Do plastic masks drop from the ceiling-

put them over your own face before putting them on the baby-

and they are powered by solar panels-

In Germany?

Land of wet wet wet?

(Think Seattle)

Besides, I thought we were in a concrete tube.

So if the panels don’t work,

and the masks don’t drop…

What is the longest anyone has ever held their breath?

Or maybe there is one of those emergency air tanks,

that you all-

you and five strangers-

have to share.

And then…


as much as I love train rides,

has anybody else out there ever been stuck

in a randomly computer tossed-together

train compartment for six-

even if it is, in this case, only for eight minutes?

I have been on a plane with a man in a ragged straw hat,

smelling strongly of pot and dead fish,

and his dog,

and his harmonica,

and a bird,

which was never in the cage he had along.

And then there was the time I was vegetarian,

and ended up bumped into first class

with a vegetarian guru

in a blue robe-like thingy,

and his 28 female companions,

in blue saris,

each with a gold chain and large picture of him attached to it.

I am now again vegetarian,

but it took a while,

(Actually, the first thing I did when I got off the plane the next morning,

was buy a hamburger.

And then there are the ones who always have something to sell-

“I used to be a heroine addict,

but now I’m a…”

New Illuminati, ala Dan Brown,

Light Bringer  (those who stalk you to convert you)

and the ones I really love,

the ones who are in therapy,

or are therapists themselves,

who have these monstrously huge rubber bands around their wrists,

and snap them,


because they are always stressed,

as they tell you how much calmer they are.

The entire eight minutes it takes you to…

Actually, I have been thinking seriously lately,

of joining the Creative Anachronism society again,

we were in a lute and flute medieval group,

and maybe, this time,

join an up and down the coast dragon boat crew.

I always wanted to visit the islands in the north sea.

Or are the Muskrats planning an underground version of the eight minute tube?

4000 miles per hour.

Here to San Francisco, pick up some sourdough bread,

and back again for lunch.

Then again,

six man pods….

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: On The Eerie Stillness of Choristers, Kir Royale, And Talented Organists On Their Day Off.

This is the time of year when the choristers

of the state supported churches here in Gutenberg Land-

Catholic and Lutheran,

go through a sort of mental checklist-

have we got enough books?

do we have a budget?

if we ask to practice before the church festival,

will they make us clean and paint the church again?

is anyone still around, or are they all on vacation?

and, perhaps foremost,

for the purists in this year of Luther,

can we get by with singing the Beatles this year-

maybe even Elinor Rigby with its tag to church windows,

or do we have to sing Sister Act and the Blues brothers again

because it is,

in some way no one really understands,

linked to Christian worship?

Actually almost anything bright and cheerful is fine with me,

(since we start practicing for the day of the dead in September,)

including a wonderful “summer song”

that apparently no one in the church here knows is actually a drinking song,

or the Scandinavian song “Lord, your love is like grass on the river bank”,

which is so amazingly and unanimously disliked by church musicians,

probably just because there can be no “summer service”


or any other formal event

without it.

Often done as a round,

with handed around wooden sticks to bang together,

or taped up light bulbs with pebbles inside to shake,

and/or with a large conglomeration of youth groups with guitars accompaning-

The result is,

that after their first year of service in the church,

the church musicians start to call it

“Lord, your goat is eating the grass on the river bank”.


But sometimes too much is just too much.

And then there are the Taise meditation pieces-

folk songs meant to be sung again and again,

and again,

and again,

until the entire congregation either falls asleep,

or goes home saying “wasn’t that a wonderful service.”

Except for the grinches who play the organ,

and wait, digging their fingers into the palms of their hands,

for the moment when those two absolutely wrong wrong wrong

chord changes come around,

for the 217th time.

(We actually have a bet on over here, friends and I-

the first one that ends up in the loony bin from Taise

gets the collection of buttons

and ten penny pieces,

dropped into the “for the organist” box

after each wedding.)

Oh, and then there is the stillness of the choristers.

Working with choristers is a bit like working with children at Sunday school –

when they are still,

they are up to something-

like the to remain nameless

(the name appears in the Pentecost story)

choir I had which mixed up a batch of Kir Royale-

a year later it was planter’s punch-

and the star tenor,

who was interning in a hotel at the time,

did the mixing.

With the result that a very heated round of politics-

when alcohol comes out, all Germans discuss politics-

was followed by a polonaise through the altar room,

the head of the finance committee leading the way.

And the fact that we got new books the next year

instead of gowns,

had absolutely nothing,

I swear,

to do with the fact that pictures were taken.

Oh, and since we are talking about the eerieness of choirs,

and kir royale,

there is also a small matter of organists-

especially the talented ones I work with

who, while I am busy doing my singing and conducting bit,

I can admire

usually from a distance,

doing their pedal-pushing,

testing out who has the fastest correctly played finger work,

and laughing,

as they fill the air with marvelous inventive improvisations

on a theme,

usually a psalm,

set by the pastor,

who is apparently unaware

of the soon to come out fantastic hidden references,

like the theme to batman,

the day of our novelty cricket game with the Catholics,

(novelty, since cricket is not usually played over here)

or the 27 unnoticed boy scout songs

in the pedal work of an improvisation

about serving the Lord.

Like I said, the brightest and the best.

And where do they vacation?

If you happen to have the privilege to camp next to one-

home organ on the back of his truck,

or go into a church in a foreign country,

and see a group of five,

all in biking clothes,

special organ shoes in a bag in the bike basket,

pull out huge rings of keys….

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Satisfaction Of Killing An Ear Of Corn.

A couple of days ago,

while making toast,

our electric dutch oven blew a gasket.

As in-


then no light,

then no motor on.

Then all was darkness.

In the whole house.

No big deal, think I,

from  a long line of descendents

who landed at Plymouth,

and wandered down the trail,

to the wild prairies of Illinois.

I can do this.

So I:

snuffed out the sparks with fireproof pot holders,

got out the flashlight,

and made my way to the fuse box,

after first yelling- “no body puts water on this, you hear.”

Coming back,

it was still dead dead dead,

but peaceful.

With its dutch oven grips crossed over its removable lid.

I placed it with great dignity on the balcony.

Placed water pots around it,

just in case-

that electricity is sneaky.

Then I went in to start saving the dinner.

Which turned out to be a rather neat trick,



at almost the same moment-

it was definitely a mutual suicide pact-

our microwave had started making a very weird noise-

a kind of whirr whirr whirr,

that you often hear when the washing machine is about to go.

Or the dryer-

be still my heart-

is that whirr whirr whirr thing

the mechanical version of the pling, pling, pling,

you hear in the worst moments at hospitals?

Just before they apply the defibrilator?

I found I was singing tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow

under my breath,

as I mopped up the water

that had apparently spilled from the pots as I put the D.O-

dutch oven,

on the balcony.

Actually, it turned out,

it was from the flowers my husband had placed next to D.O.

just to bug me

So anyway, there I was,

daughter of the pioneers,

staring at destruction,

every way I looked,

and no time to replace anything,

until the corn harvest is in,

and I-

went for it.

Took out the small plastic camping coil water heater

I always carry when I am singing

or conducting,

or teaching-

where you never know where you can get your energy booster tea

assuming you were to ever have time to get out of the building.

Besides, since you can replace almost anything that breaks

with strong black tea…

I made strong black tea.

And  was in the process of turning off the nervous energy,

when I remembered it.

A tv show, called tool time, or home improvements,

I can never remember which is the real show and which the show within the show,

which I had shown to my English class,

who insisted on comic films,

as it said on the teaching syllabus,

but, as most Germans do,

wanted only to watch Fawlty Towers-

yes, it is great.

And funny.

Because “American shows have no depth.”

So I showed them the Tool Time,

where the kids are misbehaving at dinner,

and their geek neighbor

tells the father it is because the boys have no respect for their food

because they didn’t catch it.

At which point the father runs around the yard

with a chicken under his arm like a football,

and once they catch him,

and down the chicken on the goal line,

they can cook.

(Which episode sparked discussions on vegetarianism, aggression, loss of closeness to reality, etc. Teachers- try it.)

And in the mood I was in,

about the oven,

and the micro,

I rolled up my sleeves,


Then I went to work.

More water in the cooker,

shuck the corn,

symbolically wring its uhm neck, or something,

which felt very very right at that moment,


into the water.

In a pot.

On the stove.

Then the bacon.

More water boiled.

Now I know why they boil water all the time in those historic films.

Bacon in water to remove salt and nitrates.

Chopped thin,

cooked in frying pan.

Organize husband to chop tomatoes and salad.

Defrost toast over the boiling water.

Toast it on a long fork over the stove plate,

hey, it only caught fire twice.

And voila.


Two hours to move the defunct micro to the balcony,

to enjoy the water and flowers,

cook everything by hand,

clean all the cabinets,

and the ceiling,


family fed,

micro and dutch enjoying each others company in a plastic laundry basket

in the bathtub,

dishes washed,

hey- all we needed were s’mores

and a banjo.


having  now considered life,

the killing of corn for my survival,

and everything,

I was now

one hundred percent ready to go out the next morning,


buy a new microwave.

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Johnny G, Ceremonial Baths In Wine Vats, And The Gentlemen’s League Of Printers.

It’s that time again.

The one weekend each year

when the real Gutenberger-

the Meenzer- those born within the sound of the church bells,

the Määnzer- those born in the city, but not within the sound of the bells,

and the Mainzer- those who have moved in and now live here

turn their faces to the fiftieth parallel,

which runs a good deal away from the place the locals planted the metal plaque,

so tourists have a place to have their picture made.

Then, with reverence,

and an eye on the huge amount of tourists he has brought to the city,

the true sons of Gutenberg Land slowly bow

and  pay reverence to their hero-

Johnny G-

as he is called at the University.

For Johnny G,

actually Johannes Gensfleish,

inventor of the printing press,

often called Gutenberg,

has a birthday this weekend-

on the twenty-fourth, actually,

which is mirrored in the fact that children from that time

were often named after the Saint on whose day they are born-

in this case, St John, whose day also marks

the last day to legally sell strawberries and white asparagus,

and is the reason for the famous St Johannes night festival-

the day when, since the middle ages,

all outstanding bills have to be paid,

and then you boogie.

To the sound of loud street bands,

the clinking of wine spritzer and strawberry wine glasses,

a quick rummage through all the junk shops-

and artists’ stands,

especially the jewelers, who, in this area are particularly good.

And, of course, the stands, and stands, and stands,

of antique books,

looking for new homes,

in the myriad of rucksacks,

and specially made book carriers-

particularly good for swinging to make way

through the multi-million tourists,

at this “biggest summer festival on the Rhine”

on their way to see the highlight of the festival-

the “gautschen”-

traditionally the huge blow-out party thrown by the newbies

to the book printing guild-


in the middle ages till early modern times,

had to pay up to two years’ salary

for this  party,

or who,

as an alternative,

and as it is done today,

merely get dunked under water

in a huge vat in front of the local opera house,

and held down for a moment or two by the “catchers”-

a group of muscle men, all printers,

who have to catch and dunk the newbies,

as they, the newbies,

try by all means,

and with the help of the crowd,

to escape.

Never fear.

They all get caught,

and carried to the vat,

where they are dunked,

then scrubbed with huge natural sponges,

before being dragged out,

to join in a toast to the league of gentlemen printers.

Congrats, kids.

More power to you all.

May you be happy in your chosen field,

and may it, in one form or another,

continue forever.

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: When The Heat’s In The Feet, Then The Street’s Not So Neat.

It’s hot here in Gutenberg Land.

As in

hot, hot, hot


Which is the sound feet make

when walking on melting tar,

hot, hot, hot,


all the while jumping large holes

made in the surfacing

by cars

trying to avoid the newly instituted

“park the sides of the street full,

and you get automatic slowed traffic.”


So the kids,

home from school,

can toss the neighbor’s cat in the tar,

which you have to pull out,

put it, in blanket and gym bag

in the tram,

“what on earth are you doing to that cat?”

as you  head,


to the vet.

Who charges you 92, 50 Euros  to clean the fur,

and call the hysterical neighbor that her cat is ok.

Which is,


the exact moment when you look at your feet.

And recognize

you are wearing special,

high duty,

hiking sandals,

specially molded through years of careful wear,

to exactly the perfect healthy support for—

about three pounds of tar,

which have slooowwwlllyyy

oozed into…

you get the picture.

After which, you leave above-mentioned cat for observance-

“we’ll send you the rest of the bill later…”

swallow the cat’s sedation yourself,

and try to remember what that fleeting picture was-

the one that has been buzzing right in front of your eyeballs for the last ten minute-,

accompanied by that bizarre whoosing tone you hear on the original Star Trek

as the Enterprize passes that Vulcan tar pit,

and the (still at that point evil) Klingons

fight them,

in an attempt to defend their captured Vulcan Tar Pit

decontamination baths.


That was it.


Full of turpentine

and Borax,

which we had to sit in each night

after coming home after school,

and playing on the next street over-

which was continuously,

to the intense dislike-

understanding, yes, but intense dislike,

of the local parents,

being tarred,

so that the ambulances,

in the hot, hot, hot


heat of the Illinois prairie,

didn’t get stuck

on their way to the hospital,

in the same stuff

the cat

got stuck in.

Now all I have to do is find some Borax.

Wasn’t it Ronald Reagan

raised on the Illinois Prairie,

broadcast journalist from the University of Illinois,

who used to sell the stuff?

I wonder if there’s still a backlog bag of it around somewhere?

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Sunday In The Land Of Celts And Teutonics

In a recent “And Gutenberg Lived Here” blog,

I talked about Sunday morning in the land of Celts and Teutonics.

We have a huge population of celtic ancestry here-

Stonehenge-like builders from way back,

(they were here before they went to GB or Ireland)

and the result on the populace is visible.

Those Gutenberger descended from Celts are small,

with a  slightly rounded head,

a body with approximately the figure of the Michelangelo David-

with clothes on,


but not nearly as often as in the US,

and a definite love of walking in the woods,

hugging trees,

and collecting,

or barbecuing,

anything that used to be an animal or a plant.

As opposed to the Teutonics,

who, with clothes on-

cord pants and hiking boots, usually nix on the shirt-

for males-

(the ones over sixty pull in their stomachs,

and carry a large walking stick)

as they:

walk through the woods,

hug trees,

and collect and barbecue anything that used to be an animal or a plant.

With the difference that the Teutonics are usually taller,

and often have a square jaw and a flat back to the head.

The rest of the country, are probably East Friesian, Bavarians, Turks,

or Japanese tourists.

So now that you know the teams,

what are their natural behavior patterns?

Germany, I hate to say it, is, at least in my opinion, after long years of living here,

still VERY much a class conscious society.

You can see it by the lifestyle.

A particular kind of car,

particular clothes,

and you know immediately where someone comes from

and what they do for a living.

(and they had better have the academic,

or workman-journeyman-master papers to prove it,

or the entire neighborhood goes up in arms.)

As opposed to the locals of St Louis,

where you can immediately learn everything about someone

just by asking where they went to high school.

If you can’t hear it in the accent.

St Louis, for those who don’t know it,

is the most western of the east, the most eastern of the west,

the most southern of the northerners, and northern of the southerners-

Each neighborhood with its own variation-

And has a huge collection of own foods, (cracker pizza and fish in corn meal)

clothes- short shorts with white knee-high socks, or “summer suits-”

for going to the “city”

and idioms “full as two ticks” “marching up like Cox’s army”

you get the picture.

Gutenberger, however, aren’t just quaint,

they are a historical tableau.

With legs.

Picture, for example,

the historical costume groups-

mostly the Pomeranians,

or Silesians,

who meet to dance the historical dances

they used to dance on the large estates,

like the old southern plantations

back in the days before WWII sent them to Gutenberg Land.

And if you really want to get an earful,

there are the historical brass groups-

horn instruments of wood,


zinc pommer,


etc etc.

Who play for the high masses.

In a cathedral staffed by Swiss guards,

in Vatican uniform with halberds.

And then there are the popular festivals-

the largest wine festivals in the world,

the “rock around the Loreley,”

or the “open ear festival,”

with stars like Bob Dylan.

Hey, before Dylan, it was the troubadours-

we have a long history of historic rock festivals.

The most popular, however,

are the nature festivals-

always organized by  a committee of the class of …

Who, for five years after that date,

organize the stealing.

and sawing through

of the neighboring village’s maypole

so they can’t put it up to announce their may dance.

Or the parties, where the young girls cook,

and pack picnic baskets that are auctioned off,

actually it is just buying a date with the girl,

and can get pretty sticky,

if the girl dislikes the boy who buys her basket,

or has baked syrup buns.

And then, of course,

there are the historic battles between the Catholics,

and the Lutheran “minority”

about fifty-seven percent at last count

said “minority” being the ones who demonstratively hang their bedding out the window,

after first shaking it over the heads of the 7 AM Catholic trombone choirs

who march through the streets

calling the locals to masses on the high holidays.

Since they, the Lutheran bedding shakers,

thought that they might get to actually sleep in until 9 that day.

Since their church starts at-

10, 10:30, 11.

Ah yes.


And then, of course,

there are the battles between the musicians

and the normal people.

“Fathers and mothers, bar your doors, musicians are in the city.”

And since music is supposedly the universal language…

Sorry. Not really.

I don’t know a lot of musicians, for example,

who like to sit with friends, invited over for a meal,

with music playing in the background.

Jacques Brell

(a huge favorite over here)

do not make me feel well.

And Bob Dylan

just ain’t  for chillin’

By which what I really mean is,

invite a musician over,

and he has two choices-

concentrating on you, and what you are saying,

or concentrating on the music lines-

unless the music is so bad you can’t,


at which point, said earful is usually so bad a musician has a tendency to laugh out loud.

Or get an ear ache.

Not really a good way to thank people for an invitation.

But still  not as bad as a friend of mine,

who conducts a large symphony over here,

and insists that anything that makes noise either plays at A-440 or stays off.

And since my pot lids are luckily in A 440, but my cabinet doors aren’t,

despite oiling them just before his visit,

we usually eat at his house and I bring potluck along.

(And try not to bring along things like green beans, that could squeak in the wrong key)

Although I have, definitely, heard some great music,

and gotten some real insight,

on one of these magical music junkets.

(And he even likes the Beatles-

just not Elenore Rigby-

the version where they sing flat with the London Symphony.

Still and all,

music, food, and friends.

Not a bad thing to do with a  Sunday night.

Which gives you just a bit of an idea,

what life is like here in Gutenberg Land,

From Saturday at one,

or at the latest two,

when the artisans, craftsmen, and guild members,

and shopkeepers, of course,

close their shops,

and everyone goes home to a thick pea soup,

or grabs a bratwurst out and then starts running errands,

then plays soccer, or does one of their hobbies-

flying, volunteer fire department, chicken raisers, glee club,

help out in the senior teams,

coach the little ones who will take over one day,

or just plain go fishing-

(with the fishing club. Who are conservationists. You don’t just drop in a line over here.)

Saturday night is for friends to come over,

or drinking in a pub, or movies.

At least in our experience.

Sunday, then, is the great sleep-in day.

With many churches not starting till 10 or 10`30,

or even, as a pastor once told me, 11,

since the older members of the congregation take longer to get ready,

and before 11 is too hard on them.

And also because our pastor is definitely a night person, but who is counting….

So that leaves us with the afternoon.

Oh glorious Sunday afternoon.

Started, by a lot of people,

with a drink,

the so-called early cup,

in the local pub,

and political discussions.

And political discussions,

And political discussions.

followed by mama’s

which men over here have an unfortunate tendency to call their wives-

Harold, so far hasn’t dared,

big roast carrot potato lunch,

or a big roast lunch in a carvery in restaurant row,

reservations three days ahead, please.

(Gutenberg Land has probably as many restaurants as the inner city of London,

with only 350,000 populace)

And after the feast, it is time for…

get ready…

the obligatory walk in the woods.

Where you hug trees,

and collect mushrooms to grill for supper,

or berries for the formal cake and coffee hour,

Maybe I’ll just pretend it’s Monday this week.

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Art Imitates Life- Imitates Art- Imitates Life.

Thursday, Corpus Christi Day,

was a big holiday here in Gutenberg Land-

and any  of the other fifteen German states that are historically

and predominantly

Roman Catholic.

We faked the required barbecue,

and just nuked two ears of corn

and some haloumi cheese,

and ate on the balcony.

Followed by a quick round of

“have you got a computer that works, or is your stalker online too”

a short walk over the fields behind our house,

to get the cobwebs out,


after a rather major, and complicated, attempt to get downtown,

(it’s road tarring, tram track laying,

and block all roads due to street carnivals and marathon running

season here)…

we arrived at something we started working to get tickets to in January…

the National Theatre’s live to a few big city movie houses broadcast of

Harold Pinter’s “No Man’s Land”

a study of a brilliant and injured successful poet,

trying to drink himself into oblivion to forget life’s major injuries,

which are only anesthesizable in No Man’s Land,

an area of erudite verbal squabbling,

academic one-upmanship,

and, most important, always, always, keeping a distance.

Enter an unsuccessful poet,

but a very successful drunk,

who tries, with all means, to attach himself,

secretarily, and otherwise,

in the hope of getting money,

and prestige,

and, most importantly,

by constantly attacking his hero,

breaking down all barriers,

including the normal barriers of human decency,

so he can bask in,

and steal,

the greatness.

Unfortunately, there are two guardians,

also on for the ride,

who can tell quality from non-quality,

and help keep the distance.

Gee, what can I say-

it’s Pinter.

Brilliant, thought-provoking,


with a cast containing,

among others,

Sir Patrick Stewart,

and Sir Ian McKellen,

well worth the discomfort of a super-modern movie house

with seats so low you have to sit with your knees under your chin,

and breath through the smell of nachos and cheese,

(We were the only ones without)

And then, of course, there were the six,

count them six,

unsuccessful long-distance attempts to get tickets to see it live on stage.

Bon chance.

(The NT live broadcasts to the big city movie houses here are actually quite good.-

Just nachos instead of sherry, )

(And you don’t get the sweat and spit of working actors-

I know. I’ve sat in enough orchestra pits and house seats.)

So what then, bottom-linely speaking,

is the point.

Or do I mean the “land” scape?

I think the phrase I have heard more than once in the last few days,

but never as well spoken

and illustrated,

as here in “No Man’s Land,”

is Pinter’s stage three-

Stage One:  Aristotle- mimesis- “art imitates life”

Stage Two: Oscar Wilde-  anti-mimesis- “life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”

And now, Stage  Three: Pinter.

Art imitates Life imitates Art imitates Life.

And Stage Four?

Good poets borrow,

Great poets steal?

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Sigh Of The Corn

I miss the sigh of the corn a lot,

living over here in Gutenberg Land-

that soft sound when the summer is really far along,

the sky is soft blue,

the air is hot hot hot,

and, as you walk through the seven-foot stalks in the field,

there is just a tiny moment of wind,

a soft little gust

that makes the corn sigh.

A gentle rustling sound of the nearly dried leaves

that whispers

home, home, home…

There isn’t much corn here in Gutenberg Land.

The small amount that does grows here is

the small white-kernelled kind used for cow fodder.

The small amount being eaten,

on the cob only-

is blackened on a barbecue grill next to pork steaks,

and Houlumi,

a popular form of goat’s cheese that doesn’t melt when grilled.

Some time ago, though, I was in a concert out at Kloster Eberbach,

a gorgeous old Cistercian cloister

used in the filming of The Name of The Rose.

Arriving, you park your modern transport by the gate,

and walk.

Through an ancient solid wooden archway,

monstrous door protecting the inner sanctum of the religious buildings

from the wild animals

and, at the time it was built,

even wilder humans,

roaming the region.

And you walk.

Into the dark woods,

through a gorgeous mountain-surrounded meadow,

full of wild flowers,

then across a small plank bridge

over a bubbling rivulet of a stream,

peeping back at the deer,

and in this season, foxes,

peeping at you.

Then across a high ridge,

where you can look down on the beautiful old buildings,

gentle, quiet,

the only sound the small aerator in the carp and trout ponds,

some soon to be dinner when the crowds arrive for the evening’s baroque concert.

And you take a sip from your water bottle,

and listen.

To the cloister’s day breaking

And the deer,

making their way down to the little brook,

and the sighing of the wind

in the cloister’s formal gardens.



if you sit absolutely still,

and listen carefully,

and think the kind of thoughts you should always think

when given the great gift of a day like this,

in a place like this,

you will finally hear

the sigh of the corn.

copyright 2017

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Tech-Tock- You Are Collecting What…?

As I am writing this:

There are kids out on the soccer field near us,

fans of the local soccer team,

training to yell and stomp for each other,

and hopefully one day get a place either in the local pom-pom girls.

cheering for the pro team,

or drumming,

to heat up the crowd,

(more roar, more tickets in the fall)

Or stomping,

Practicing to one day activate the stomping panels,

they hope to soon install here,

to create electricity for the stadium lights.

And tv cameras.

And smart-phone chargers.

Which syphon off the extra energy people today now have,

since they aren’t usually working in the fields.

But while I am writing this,

a high-rise is burning in London,

a kindergarten has been destroyed in China,

injuring many small children,

and a group of congressmen has been shot at.

Unfortunately, from a supreme wacko from my home town.

(Which I left many years ago, as part of the go west young person movement.)

And the energy of tv cameras is going twenty-four hours per day,

reporting each tiny detail of shock.

And, as I am writing this,

my  husband asks me if I remember going to the British Museum,

and how surprised we were at the signs in the bathrooms,

that you should well,

and copiously,

use their facilities,

since they were collecting the refuse of the culture soaked,

(and courgette surprise casseroles filled)

to light and heat the museum.

And now, it appears,

there is a new invention,

featured on the BBC program Click,

a urinal,

that will collect the user’s urine,

and use it to power his smart phone-

for about an hour.

“Here, drink this water, Harold, I have to call my family.”

“A whole liter?”

“It’s long distance.”

Oh brave new world.

copyright 2017