Over the Cliff

My wife and I were watching an event on the telly that occurred a few days ago on the White House lawn. The crowd, and it was crowded, consisted of sycophants and enablers, even to a black child ensconced in the front row. Was he there for color, ha,ha, would he in someway dilute, or ameliorate the commanding white presence? But back to the Plaguemeister and his “merry band of pranksters”. They were made up of the powerful, the wannabee powerful and —is there anyone else, ha,ha! What can you say when you see that display? My wife commented, and I’m paraphrasing her, “how can these people commit themselves to such a dangerous situation?, and the child , surely he had no say.” I grokked on that, then said, “yeah, they’re like fucking lemmings”.

Islander.

Steinbeck

“From start to finish I found no strangers. If I had, I

might be able to report them more objectively. But

these are my people and this is my country. If I found

matters to criticize and to deplore, they were tenden-

cies equally present in myself. If I were to prepare one

immaculately inspected generality it would be this: For

all of our enormous geographic range, for all of our

sectionalism, for all of our interwoven breeds drawn

from every part of the ethnic world, we are a nation, a

new breed. Americans are much more American than

they are Northerners, Southerners, Westerners, or

Easterners. And descendants of English, Irish, Italian,

Jewish, German, Polish are essentially American. This

is not patriotic whoop-de-do; it is carefully observed

fact. California Chinese, Boston Irish, Wisconsin Ger-

man, yes, and Alabama Negroes, have more in com-

mon than they have apart.And this is the more re-

markable because it has happened so quickly. It is a

fact that Americans from all sections and of all racial

extractions are more alike than the Welsh are like the

English, the Lancashireman like the Cockney, or for

that matter the Lowland Scot like the Highlander. It is

astonishing that this has happened in less than two

hundred years and most of it in the last fifty. The

American identity is an exact and provable thing.”

Excerpted from “Travels With Charley”, author, John Steinbeck.

Publisher: Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd. Street,

New York, New York 10010, U.S.A.

Islander.

ON Aneurysms

Taber’s Medical Dictionary. [G. aneurysma, a widening] arterial dilation

due to pressure of blood on weakened tissues, forming a sac containing

blood that is sometimes clotted.

A while back I was diagnosed as having an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Went to see a vascular surgeon in Miami who after studying my case

declined to engage admitting that to deal with such a rather large

aneurysm was beyond his ken, it being 5.7 centimeters in diameter.

However he informed me that there was a surgeon up in Boca Raton

who was breaking new ground on the subject and gave us this doctor’s

name. We made an appointment and with forlorn hope went up to Boca

Raton.

The doctor immediately informed us of the risks of such a venture including

death, possible paralysis from the hips down for life or amputation of

limbs due to complications. I already was aware of inaction on my part.

If the aneurysm burst the result would be either a swift extremely painful

death or a slower inevitable death cushioned by morphine to ease the

pain. Considering the “Damocles Sword” I was living under I declared

that I was game. He immediately sent me to Boca Raton Regional

Hospital, nearby, where I had bloodwork done and a CT scan. Upon our

return to him he said he would perform the surgery, however there was

a caveat. There was a 20 page Agreement between myself and him and

the manufacturer of the stent before the undertaking could begin.

He outlined it briefly then we were to take it home study it thoroughly

formulate any questions we might have and return and sign it in front of

his liason after she had gone over it in detail. we did as instructed came

back and met with her and after a thorough revue of the Agreement I

signed it. Evidently I was entering a five year study of the stent beginning

with it’s implantation and it’s efficacy from that point on.

The stent itself was a piece of work, unique, no other manufacture like it.

Made of polyester fabric with hairlike strands of nitinol[made mostly of

nickel and titanium] woven into it and strands of stainless steel for strength.

There were four stublike appendages jutting out of the lower half

designed to interface with arteries leading from the aorta to the vital

organs. By the way, I was allowed to end the agreement at any time after

the operation without penalty.

The doctor chose to separate the operation into two phases in order to

avoid the prolonged duration under anesthesia required for implantation

of the device in one go, as anesthesia itself has it’s own dangers.

One other thing the device has not been given FDA approval yet but they

are allowing it’s implementation by certain qualified doctors in certain

qualified hospitals in the US.

The first phase was accomplished on June 6th and the second more

complicated phase, the lower half of the stent, which included a spinal

tap[necessarily dangerous in itself] was performed on July 3rd.

AS you can imagine, many thoughts have passed under the bridge since,

but a rather dark one keeps eddying.

Were we conceived on this Earth, like the good Doctor and his associates,

indeed everyone in that hospital, to benefit mankind or are we born

to destroy it. That I ask that question in our time, our vaunted time, is—-

what?—–can you tell me?—-pray tell.

Islander.




Sticks and Stones

I’m interested, how about you?, in hearing what appellation our

puissant Pussy-grabber will bestow upon the contender from South Bend.

It can’t be “Crazy”, another contender has that acclamation.

It can’t be Pocahontas, another contender owns that one.

He can’t use “A person of low intelligence”, we all know who that title

was bestowed upon, and another woman by the way.

He can’t say “Fat and ugly”, a comediene and imitator of him sports

that one.

How about “Bartender”?, a put- down in his mind; but not in her’s.

I like her, how could you not?

Would he dare say something homophobic?All I can say is”how do you address someone who clearly is all that

you are not”?

Islander.

Another Letter to the Editors

This may be my next-to-last letter to the editors as I have become

increasingly frustrated as of late over the fact that the format of my

website is constantly altered by the powers that be, which can only

be either WebHostingHub or WordPress. I strongly suspect WordPress,

as from the Git-go they have constantly offered me so-called upgrades

and when I have ignored these offers they are foisted upon me anyway.

Originally, when I first fired up, things were rather simple. One would

dial up “thewalrussaid.net” and you would have instant access to the

search box and it’s icon which immediately led to my most recent post,

however now one must scroll from here to hell and back to get the

same result and I for one find it seriously confusing.

I’ve said this before, that I think it must be some artificial intelligence

gizmo that WordPress is employing, and much to my detriment.

However, for all I know,  WordPress itself may be artificial intelligence,

ha,ha!, so I plan to consult with WebHostingHub as they seem to be

some sort of go-between. Much as I like WHH., the young people there

are so very bright, I doubt I will get anywhere. I find that people, for the

most part cannot reverse course, for they are not at the helm of their

technology; indeed their technology steers them.

If I have to move on, I will, but I shall post a note before I leave.

Islander.

 

Poe

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore–

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door–

Only this and nothing more.”

 

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow;–vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow–sorrow for the lost Lenore–

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore–

Nameless here  for evermore.

 

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me–filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

“Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door–

This it is and nothing more.”

 

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

“Sir,” said I,” or madam truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you”–here I opened wide the door;–

Darkness there and nothing more.

 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word Lenore?”

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”–

Merely this and nothing more.

 

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;

Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore–

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;–

“Tis the wind and nothing more!”

 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door–

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door–

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore–

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”

Quoth the raven “Never more.”

 

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,

Though its answer little meaning–little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door–

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door.

With such name as “Nevermore.”

 

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

Nothing farther then he uttered–not a feather then he fluttered–

Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before–

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”

Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

 

Startled by the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore–

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

Of ‘Never–nevermore’.”

 

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door,

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking

fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore–

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

 

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,

But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,

She shall press, ah, nevermore!

 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.

“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee–by these angels he hath sent thee

Respite–respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

 

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil–prophet still, if bird or devil!–

Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted–

On this home by Horror haunted–tell me truly, I implore–

Is there balm in Gilead?–tell me–tell me, I implore!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

 

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!–prophet still if bird or devil!

By that Heaven that bends above us–by that God we both adore–

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore–

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

 

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting–

“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!

Leave my loneliness unbroken!–quit the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

 

And the Raven never flitting, still is sitting, still  is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor,

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor,

Shall be lifted–nevermore!                              Edgar Allan Poe.

The above is for those who are perhaps unacquainted with Poe,

and for those of us who “once upon a midnight dreary , while we

pondered weak and weary” over the Internet, ha,ha!

Islander.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back Then

Once upon a time American food producers, farmers, etc,
enlisted college students and nomadic Americans to get
the harvest in; but that was then. Nowadays, college students
say “fuck that noise, I’m off to Cannes”, and nomadic
Americans have all but disappeared, however nomadic people
still exist.
Today and for quite some time the bulk of nomadic people
have been of Mexican heritage and many have settled here and
have become American citizens and what’s wrong with that?
This has benefited America greatly. Take for instance a basic
necessity such as food. Before it reaches your table it must
be harvested, butchered, processed, and these people I speak
of are heavily involved in that endeavor and yes, I speak
to you in Arkansas.
And yet we put them down, we villify them, and in doing so we villify ourselves.
Islander.

“Waltzing Matilda”

“Once a jolly swagman sat beside the billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
You’ll come a waltzing maltilda with me

Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me
and he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me.

Down came a jumbuck to drink beside the billabong
Up jumped the swagman and seized him with glee
And he sang as he tucked jumbuck in his tuckerbag
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me

Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me.

Down came the stockman, riding on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three.
“Where’s the jolly jumbuck you’ve got in your tuckerbag?
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me”

Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me.

Up jumped the swagman and plunged into the billabong,
“You’ll never catch me alive,” cried he
And his ghost may be heard as you ride beside the billabong,
You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me.” Banjo Paterson.
Islander.

The Siege of Leningrad

“Nobody had the energy to bury the dead. Gravediggers were to weak

to hack holes in the frozen ground. When someone died, the corpse

was wrapped in a sheet and taken on a child’s sled to the gates

of the cemetery. Army engineers, summoned from the front,

dynamited pits for mass burials. And sometimes the authorities

discovered that the bodies had pieces of flesh carved from them.

This is the one aspect of the siege not described in Soviet histories

or memoirs. But there were numerous reports from Russian sources

indicating that hunger finally drove some Leningraders to cannibalism.

According to the reports, it was practiced on the dead at first.

Then there were cases of murder for food by starvation-crazed people.

Finally, there were reports of human flesh being sold. Soldiers, the

best fed people in the city, reportedly were killed on their way home

from the front. They started going about armed and in groups.

One rumor had it that children were beginning to disappear, and

parents kept their youngsters off the streets. Other stories spread

that gangs of well-fed cannibals roamed the city; the stories added

terror to all the other anxieties. Anyone who looked healthy was

under suspicion–as were the little meat cakes that could still

be bought for enormous prices in the black market.”

 

“Nobody knows how many people perished that winter in Leningrad.

The official total is 264,ooo. But this figure was laid down during the

Stalinist years, when Leningrad’s sufferings were minimized.

Most Western scholars believe that the number of deaths from

starvation during the entire siege exceeded one million, and that

several hundred thousand more were killed by bombs, shells or gunfire.

By contrast, the United States and Britain together suffered fewer

than 800,00 deaths during all of World War II.”

Excerpts from “Russia Besieged   WWII.” Author Nicholas Bethell,

Publishers, Time-Life Books Inc.

The population of Leningrad at that time was around 3 million.

Islander.