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Some Thoughts, July 13 – 19

Afternoon Wind by Charles Burchfield (1951).


Like smoldering tips of sticks or coals
they glow in the grass. Light over all
begins to go. Night like a swooping bat
comes down the clouds and the white pine
Out of the sky where a star shines.

As eyes must blink they flash and fade, off, on
pervade, catch flame from grass to bush, move up
the bark into the trees out to the end
of every branch blooming a light
against the dark gently defiant.

While constellations stretch and hover
dippers, horses, virgins, snakes
endless little fires rise up the pines
and couple at the spires with stars.


Yes, I am a member of the Grammar Police; the world would fall apart without us. I thought about making the K and W lower case but then thought better of it.

I posted the photos above on my Facebook Timeline and here are some of the comments I got:

Jesse Barkin: They might have meant, keep your windows close and your enemies closer.

Jeff Wright: Always good to have a window close.

Don Yorty: Especially in our youth, Jeff, especially in our youth.

Manal Grant: Keep the window. Close rain causes damage.

Mark Lamoureux: You shouldn’t make fun of the person who wrote the sign, I think they might have rain damage.

Don Yorty: Not making fun; just correcting.

Dean Kostos: I’m that nerdy person with a pen.

Jean Zaun: Question for you…is it “used to be” or “use to be”?

Anne-Adele Wight: There’s an argument for keeping the K uppercase, but definitely not the W.

Don Yorty: I know the argument, Anne. I’d go with a capital if there really was a sense of a complete sentence on either side of the colon like an equation. And you could make a case for that here.

Jean, “used” is used: “I used to smoke Camels, but now I don’t.” We say “used to” with the understanding of the past. I could say “I did use to smoke,” with did indicating the past. The main verb “to use” has three principal parts: use, using, and used. Each part of the verb is helped by one of the twenty helping verbs we use in English to put the main verb in time. Do, does, and did help the simple present and past, and they help the base form, use. In the simple past the helping verb “did” is hiding behind “used”: “I used (did use) to smoke.” In the negative did appears: “She didn’t use to smoke.” And in a question did appears: “Did she use to smoke?” In the affirmative we don’t usually see did: “She used to smoke,” unless we’re adamant: “She did use to smoke.”

I could live with this: To All Tenants: Keep the window closed; rain causes damage. Management.

Philip Garrison: Whew!

A photo from Aeion Solar

July 15

There must be equality in the world, true equality, women and children as equal as men. No one should be anymore important than anyone else, and no country should be more important than any other country. Until there is true equality, as one world and as one people, no one is to blame because we’re all at fault. “…ne non aequalis ab omni/ parte foret, magni speciem glomeravit in orbis. And so no part would be unequal with any other part, God made the earth into a great round ball.” Ovid, from lines 34 and 35 of the Metamorphoses.

Marty Watt

Something Marty Watt wrote this week:

Low on funds on this HOT humid day. So bad that the guy who delivered our new refrigerator today tipped US !!!!! Not kidding. I was blasting old school reggae – real inside stuff: Dillinger, Prince Muhammed – they loved it, Maddie went a got them a toy as she always does for guests “can I get you a toy?” Lots of jokes back and forth. We said as they left, “Sorry we have no money for a tip.” Main guy Kevin came back: laughing and talking about the concept of a tip and how ’bout a world where the delivery guys tip YOU .. and handed us 40$ … we were all hugging and shaking hands – he said he was a christian, I said “Thank you, JC ! You walked on water – COOL REFRIGERATED WATER!!!!” Hot miserable day but how ’bout that story….. AND what sounds like a lost kitten continues to mew now and then in our garage.

July 16

The McDonald’s ice cream cone has gone up 31 cents; the NY Daily News, which I might read over lunch, has gone up 50 cents; and when I got home this afternoon I find that my Time Warner Cable has gone up 18 dollars. I can quit the ice cream cone, the only thing I’d get at McDonald’s; I can read the news on my iPhone (although I do like holding a newspaper)—but what to do with Time Warner?

July 17

One of the best movies I’ve ever seen is called The Dupes. It was made in 1973, a collaboration of Syrian and Egyptian film companies, directed by an Egyptian, Tewfik Saleh. I believe it is considered one of the ten best Arab movies ever made. It’s about three Palestinian men trying to secretly make their way across Iraq to go work in the oil fields in Kuwait. If they get caught, they’re dead. The film has more suspense than any Hitchcock movie and more humanity than just about any movie you will ever see. You become these Palestinian men who have to hide in a sweltering empty water tank where they may die in a minute. My heart goes out to the Palestinian people and I haven’t a clue what to do about it; Israel and Palestine have rabid advocates frothing at the mouth, “bat shit crazy,” someone has said. My heart goes out to the Palestinian people, not Hamas, but the Palestinian people. As a gay man, Hamas wants me dead. On the PBS News Hour the other night a guest said that Hamas would agree to a cease fire if their conditions were met, one of them being the opening of the Rama Road into Egypt. The Egyptian government doesn’t want to open the Rama Road into Egypt because it doesn’t want a bunch of Palestinians pouring in. Perhaps the elephant in the room is not how badly the Israelis have treated the Palestinians, but how badly the Palestinians have been treated by their own brethren, and that this, although it seems to remain unspoken, is also a part of the problem. I honestly don’t know; I am just, as they say, saying.

295 people in an airplane over Ukraine, 4 boys on a beach in Gaza, and Elaine Stritch have died. The world is losing its balance. There is something to be said for those who can make us feel and laugh.

The artist Judith Braun: double radiance.

July 18

I told Akram if he starts to exercise, I will quit drinking.

Akram’s going to start to exercise. He bought the shoes, the shorts, the shirt; we’re almost there.

A walk in the English Garden, talking Elaine Stritch, looking at the flowers:

A memory of Elaine Stritch from Billy Gallo:

Elaine Stritch…When I worked at FiFi Oscards Office we represented her for a Milikin Breakfast Show…the costumer was called upon not once not twice but THREE times and all three times sent at least TEN pairs of shoes for Miss Stritch’s approval…” Too small…too TIGHT…too large!!!” came back her answer…SHE KEPT EVERY PAIR! I would have done the same thing!


The Gray Baboon by Aloys Zötl (1839).

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