Archive - 2005

November 4th

Somebody doesn't have enough to do

Got on a roll with the fishline and decided to hang this table about three feet above Eugene the Bear. Like Eugene, this is probably a temporary installation.

Floating wood chunk

This is not Photoshop, it is fishline. I decided to try to suspend one of the big chunks of wood left from the house construction--and it worked! This ought to freak out the house visitors.

November blah

Grey, wet, cold. November has hit. Last night, there were some snow flurries, although they quickly melted upon hitting the warm ground.

I took a bunch of pictures yesterday, hoping to post more of the fading fall color here--only to get back to the house and realize that I didn't have the memory card in the camera. That's the modern equivalent of forgetting to put in film. And I wasn't stubborn enough to go back and retake the pictures.

November 2nd


To find language with syntax as tortured as that of Gerard Manley Hopkins, I looked up the testimony the late great Casey Stengel gave to a Senate anit-trust committee on July 8, 1958. For some reason, the committee called Casey in to testify the day after he had managed the American League team in the All-Star game.

November 1st

Some Hopkins

It has been a while since I have subjected you readers to the syntactical puzzles of my favorite poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, the tortured 19th century British priest. However, his metaphysical view of nature--as well as his concentrated, eccentric use of the language, sticks in one's head if you stick with it long enough. This morning after taking the photos below, the phrases "all is smeared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil" came to mind. All I had to do to find the poem was type that phrase in on Google.

Finding color in November

Inspired by Cousin Anne's attempts to find color in the landscape in November even if meant going to the bottom of a canal, I looked around this morning for something colorful in the landscape here. I was helped by the presence of potted perennials and shrubs at the nursery.

This barberry is deep maroon during the summer, but late in the fall it can turn orange red. The remaining morning dew provides some gloss.

October 31st


The Vatican has decided that a statue of the Virgin Mary in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was not crying real tears. This comes as a disappointment to people who were thronging to see the statue in hopes of being blessed in some way.

The pursuit of magic seems to be one of our more basic human impulses. The quest crops up in most religions. There is always hope that there is more than the natural world, something supernatural, something which will make diseases disappear, which will intervene to change our fate for the better.

October 30th

The curse of the blinking cursor

Tonight was one of those times when I had to sit in front of the blank computer screen for at least an hour before I got an idea for the weekly column. I had bounced a couple of ideas off Lance earlier in the evening, but he gently suggested that perhaps I might stay away from moralizing this week. "Tell a story!" he said.

After almost two hours of utter emptiness, I finally had to ask, "Just what kind of story did you have in mind?"

October 29th

A Plethora of Pumpkins

Somebody must have gotten disillusioned with the pumpkin market after planting this field. Or else they hoping to lure deer.


The Star Tribune has a story this morning about a couple with reverse seasonal disorder: They get cranky when it is hot, and love the drab days of November.

The story is in reference to the time change this weekend, which for many signals the advent of the dark, dreary days of winter.

It can work both ways for me. I can find early winter to be dismal, or I can be energized. This fall I am lucky enough to feel energized. At other times, it has been a bumpy ride.