Gift tea. Variety package. A variety of teas packaged attractively intended as gift. Ultimate Tea Sampler by Solstice Tea Traders. I think this arrangement looks attractive, and that is why I bought them, but in real life they are not arranged 3x4 in the box, they do not show all at once like this, rather, the tins are sealed and arranged stacked two layers 2x3. 

Plus the tins are round. Good tins that can be reused for spices or whatever. I asked, they told me.

See, it is colorful. Bright and happy-looking. Plus twelve things. This is perfect for a woman. 

Turns out that was true in both cases. Both women flipped out. Very fun to see. Here, have a look. It's fun.

The dog is playing with a bubble machine that I sent to the youngest boy a few days previously. I included a bottle of bacon-flavored bubble liquid. The dog is snapping at bacon-flavored bubbles. That is what is keeping the dog's interest.


My rudeness. I am not bragging. I am ashamed. Apparently isolation has caused me to become short with annoying strangers and this runs counter to my Christian upbringing. 

I know, right? Who would believe that. This is our Christian ego; we try to be like Jesus but we just cannot. 

Here's the thing. I don't believe in this whole shutdown, and I can tell you why. It's very childish but it works for me. My ten-year-old self and my sixty-seven year-old self are in agreement on this and so are all my selves in between. That is a multitude of selves in agreement. So I don't care what anyone else thinks. All you bore the living piss out of me. My own internal views are my only guide. And all of the experts that you can pull out of your butt and posit to the contrary can all just suck my big fat old white ... dangling participle.

See how rude I've become? 

I am ten. My family moved to Tokyo. Now it turned winter. Everyone is wearing a medical face mask. 

Everyone is wearing a face mask!

This is 1964. And everyone around me is wearing a face mask. 

There are millions of them. This is Tokyo. They are all the same. Same size. Same shape. Same black hair. Same faces. Same face masks. 

Not really, but come on, I am ten, alright? That is how I saw things. This society is largely homogenous. Back then people did not dye their hair pink and green and blue. 

It's the weirdest goddamn thing. 

But it seems like a pretty good idea, don't you think?

These people really are thinking ahead. Whether or not it actually works, they are all sincere in protecting each other. It's actually kind of sweet. 

Why don't we do that? 

Time goes by and I keep on wondering that. We move to United States. 

Decades go by and I keep wondering why Americans do not do the mask thing like the Japanese people all did way back then in the 60's. 

Decade after decade. I kept wondering this. 

Every flu season I wondered this. Should I wear a mask? That is not a cultural thing with us. I would stick out like a gangster. I would look like a bank robber. That is my culture. 

Flu comes every year. I think the same think year after year. 

It seemed a very good idea, yet here we are as Americans simply rejecting it automatically. We are freedom people apparently, not fascist all do the same thing automatically people. This is a BIG difference between us and Japanese. This is a thing that I know about ourselves. This I know about our two separate cultures. I will not see Americans wearing a face mask. Apparently, face masks are unAmerican. I do see the masks but it's all in hospital environments, not ever in America at large. 

Not ever. 

And that is very weird. 

And then I became ill such that flying endangered my wellbeing due to being crowded inside a metal tube for a few hours with other humans and all their weird comorbidities walking around, back and forth past me, just sitting there breathing. Breathing on me. Me breathing their air. Hour after hour. Something of theirs will jump on me. Me breathing all their air. Filtered, yeah, recirculated, repeatedly, even so, whatever, I don't know. I want a mask. 

Everyone of my friends flies around like a maniac and comes home ill. That could kill me. 

I thought about wearing a mask just to fly.

Would that be weird or what? 

Repeatedly, I visualized myself wearing a medical mask on an airplane just to fly. Because of all you sick-ass humans can easily kill me. 

Everyone else is normal, this is America after all, not Tokyo, and I would be the only one wearing a medical mask. Can I pull that off? 

Yes. I can. But I don't want to.

I really don't want to be the only guy on the airplane wearing a medical mask. Because all you buttholes can make me sick. 

And besides, that wouldn't work. 

The mask would protect them from me but not me from them. 

It's one of those backwards things. 

Everyone else would have to wear a mask and I could go la la la free. 

So that's not going to work. 

And that means I don't fly. 

For decades. 

And then 2020 happened. 

America adapted instantly. 

Simply astounding. 

The entire nation all at once. Finally. What took you so goddamn long? Honestly. What took you so long? 

I know exactly what took so long. 

Until this moment the entire world could go full on face mask but America would not. America flatly would not. That much I know from 60 years of experience wondering about America and face masks. It is far too intrusive. Far far far too invasive. Americans, due to their conceits about freedom and about individuality and about their uniqueness unto the world as exemplars of independence would never ever not never not ever forever never would accept medical face masks. 

I was gobsmacked how readily my Democrat city accepted responsibility for wearing face masks as if they actually believe all this horse shit. They truly believe. Bless their sparkling hearts they truly believe. They are responsible people. Of course they will do whatever the authorities suggest. It only makes sense.

Americans are simply the most cooperative sensible people. 

Who knew?

Overnight. American sense of independence and individualism and freedom changed in an instant. Pop. Just like that.  

That is what I saw. 

From age ten to age sixty-seven. 

What were the conditions that came together this year to make that happen? 

How is it that everyone went along with it so readily? It's not just "we suggest you wear a face mask," rather, Americans go a bit crazy about this. Europeans even more so. How is it, though, all these lovely people around me become so adamant so instantly about enforcing their brand new extralegal social agreements, that nobody voted for, with pain of enforcement to the tune of thousands of dollars in fines? 

Scratch a liberal and an illiberal bleeds. Do you see conservative governors doing this?

Fuck me. You should see the monthly newsletter for my apartment building. It's always a boring pos with clip art but this last one is particularly bad. They won't even look back at it as a mistake. It begins a lonely diatribe on how difficult it is working in isolation so everyone leave them alone right now. Communicate these special ways. Contact us only this one specific way and it ends with all the things residents do that make their lives miserable, so here are all the fines for not obeying house rules. Including now wearing a mask on the premises. 

What a load. 

Isolation suited these people perfectly. They wanted it. They like it so much they extended it repeatedly. They are reveling in it. The love it. Masks are like a miracle cure, a magic wand that makes everyone just stfu and stfd. And it works!

I've never seen anything like it. 

A true world wonder. 

I must now pray. 

Lord, look at me. See this? Is this a true marvel, or what? Help a brother out, is this a miracle because it seems like one to me. These people are blowing my mind how they all ... boink ... think the same thing all at once. 

Americans, you are blowing my mind. How does this go? I saw it one of the definitions. One thing after another, pile after pile after pile after pile after pile pure unadulterated resistance and finally SHUT THE FUCK UP, CEASE ALL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, WHILE WE BURN AND WE SCREAM!

We assume these people are all Democrat voters but I seriously doubt that the rioters actually vote. 

In America, I suppose elsewhere as well, the medical masks wearing is part of everything else. All America suddenly agreeing to wear medical masks is not understood as a thing by itself. That could not happen by itself. It never did happen by itself even though with very good opportunity year after year after year with flu. But it didn't. Compulsion for medical mask wearing needed something big. For America, something bigger than big, something BIGGER THAN ANYTHING THAT EVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN HISTORY. Not a virus strain. Something much bigger than that. Something like your collective present day political ego and your realization that your long march through institutions is taking a little bit of a bend. Something like your one party for ALL American crackpots being insufficient to express your particular obsession. Something that your power-hungry egos simply cannot tolerate. A hard civic lesson like Trump delivered to Republicans to digest, that is flatly rejected by Republicans and by Democrats. The political pendulum swings and this swing is intended to slice off both your political heads and that is why we are all wearing medical masks. This is the power that power mad people have over you when their political power is thwarted. It is a coordinated and uncoordinated effort between thousands to stop living and to shut up until the all important overarching election that determines their life or their death. 

Medical mask wearing is the stfu price that I am willing to pay because their actual political power is worse. 

You insisting that I wear a mask, for all your various reasons, is you insisting that I shut up. 

Me wearing a mask is me saying, "Fine. I'll shut up. Just to live in the same city with you f'k'n crackpots. Prefer it that way, actually. I see your political power frustrated. And that is how I prefer you." 

The man has a funny name.

I should say, I've had more fun with people around here. We are all basically thinking the same things. I've had none of the bad Karen type experiences that I read about and everyone that I encounter seems to be on the same page as myself. I goof with the mask and nobody gives me any problem with it. I lift it and talk above it and wear it the wrong way and leave it hanging. I am mess with the mask and so far nobody has troubled me about it. My experience with the people in my city is all very lovely.

Outgoing mail

I pass two women who had finished the farmers market and were sitting on a squat parapet the base for iron fence in the shade and looking onto a lovely blank patch of perfect green lawn. I passed through the iron gate closed behind me. I speak to the two young women through the fence.  

"This mailbox says, 'outgoing.'" 

     "And ... " 

"This other mailbox says, 'introspective.'"

     "What does that mean?"


     "I don't get it."

"One mailbox says outgoing and the other one says shy." 

     "I still don't understand."

"Outgoing mail ... and ... shy mail." 

     "Still don't get it."

"That was a joke." 


The two women still didn't get it. And I forgot what it was like being that young. 

No I didn't. My young self is still alive and kicking. I was never that thick. I would have been just as flabbergasted back then at age nine.

New words. New vocabulary encountered reading online

Try your hand. Give it a go. 

I do very well with all the word things. My family likes to play games while I do not. Nevertheless to be with them I play these games such as scrabble. One evening we were playing with the wife of my younger brother's best friend. She kept questioning my entries. She kept looking them up. I entered EDILE, she looked it up. I told her what it means. She asked me how I know such a word. I told her how I know it. My mother said, "We learned to just trust him." 

I think that is so sweet.

They went through that. They looked up every weird thing that I entered too. But that's the thing; I don't know what is weird and what is ordinary anymore. 

Another time my family from the east coast was visiting. They were all at my parent's house assembled to do something. Dad was doing a crossword at the breakfast table and he kept asking me questions of the filler sort. I said, "Come on, Dad, ask us some hard ones." 

The two adjoining rooms were filled with people, all at once they each said, "N-o-o-o-o-o." 

I did not know they were listening. I thought they were each doing their own thing. But they were listening and they wanted easy questions, not hard ones. ALL my relatives wanted easy questions. I didn't even know they were trying. I thought that whole thing was between Dad and me. What a bunch of intruders.

Still, everyday, there are quite a lot of words encountered that I do not know. I'm telling you, sometimes I think people pull words out of their butt. Especially all those fer'ner words. 

These are the new ones since the last time I did this elsewhere. It's getting to be a big pile, and this pile gets added to the previous pile that's been going on like this for years, decades actually, through three laptop computers. 

Here goes:

* abseil: To rappel. (Mountaineering) a descent of a vertical cliff or wall made by using a doubled rope that is fixed to a higher point and wrapped around the body. Lower oneself with a rope coiled around the body from a mountainside.

It's a dream gig for anyone with a distaste for staid office jobs, as well as an excellent grasp of plantsmanship and the ability to abseil the battlements of a castle.

* affiant: someone who makes a sworn statement. US term for the person who makes a voluntary declaration of facts in a written statement and signs it under oath. The equivalent UK term is deponent. See also affidavit. 

“I was not the affiant,” Rosenstein protested to a questioner in a congressional committee.

* aggress: To make an attack; commit the first act of hostility or offense; begin a quarrel or controversy; hence, to act on the offensive. To encroach; to intrude; be or become intrusive.

The Sage of Scranton: "Is It Too Late to Aggress Climate Change?"

* allopathic: Allopathic medicine, or allopathy, refers to science-based, modern medicine, such as the use of medications or surgery to treat or suppress symptoms or the ill effect of disease. 

Allopathic Vs Osteopathic 

Osteopaths treat conditions with medical treatments as well as manipulation and massage of muscles, bones, and joints. In the United States osteopathic doctors are licensed physicians and surgeons. 

Ostopathic doctors must pass the same national board exams that all physicians do. They have the same residency training programs as other doctors. Osteopathic doctors have the title DO instead of MD 

She is best known for her integrative approach using complementary, functional and allopathic medicine, creating a unique treatment plan for each individual patient.

* autarky: A policy of national self-sufficiency and non-reliance on imports or economic aid. A self-sufficient region or country. Economic independence as a national policy.

In American terms, Trump’s supposedly quixotic effort to decouple key industries from China will no longer be the stuff of bemused scorn, but the new orthodoxy, with obvious advantages for the United States in terms of autonomy and autarky of life-sustaining goods—not to mention U.S. jobs.

That' it for the A's. 

Aquarium babies

Neon tetras are not particularly difficult to breed so long as a few basic requirements are met regarding softness of water and its associated pH. Soft, soft, soft, filtered, filtered, filtered, reverse osmosis, whatever.

I have a 10-stage tower type water filter in the kitchen used for the aquarium and for the garden and the neon tetras frolic and play. 

The thing is, this happened before in an aquarium with r/o water and the bright blue line on the body of the tiny little baby in the grass stuck out like a ... like a ... neon light. Poor thing. Gave itself away trying to hide.

While these babies do not shine like that. 

Their distressing lack of shine has me disbelieving these are actual neon tetras. 

I had to turn up the camera's ISO in order to get pictures. This particular camera requires higher ISO and this particular lens requires higher ISO, so double whammy there, plus it is very dim and the aquarium light should do it, but it doesn't, so very high ISO it is. 

This is what happens with high ISO. It's like film with high speed grain. The sensitivity is turned up so each tiny sensor gets information from its neighbors. Information leakage all over the place. This is 1:1, right here to show how indistinct the image due to this sharing. This is what high ISO does to an image. See? Photography education right here.

Okay, so how can you even form a sharp picture of a fish with all those scrambled dots all over the place? 

This tank is extremely active, the groups settle down to sleep while individuals remain active. It is the most active community that I've ever had. And I've had some great communities. But this one is like NYC. It's driving me a bit nuts watching them. Especially the Boesemani rainbows are particularly sexually active. In groups. The two large ones are gay. The smaller younger ones are working it out. They intermingle. The old gays come out of character and intermingle with the young straights and then return to their flirting and posing and mating rituals. 

The tank is trying to be like sunken ancient Alexandria Egypt. But it is too overrun with statues and with plants and with fish. Both statues and plants must be thinned. It has too many Chia Pet rams pretending to be Egyptian ram sphinxes. They are too close together. With everything else piled up in between and now with plants obscuring everything, it's more like a dumped pile of Egyptian ceramic artifacts. Those orange things are Chia Pet rams and the dark thing leaning against one of the Chias is the back of Horus falcon. Nothing can be seen because everything is obscured by plants that cannot be seen for being covered with algae. That gets rubbed off but grows back. More slowly each time. Like the tank is balancing over time. It started out everything brand new to prevent snail infestation, including plants from tissue samples, and this is the price that I am paying for that.

Along the way babies are born. Neons. The touchy precious little things. 

I am very very glad that my neon tetras are breeding in my community tank. While the other fish are sexing it up even more than they are but so far to no production. 

Pumped Up Kicks

This kid is so cool I can't stand it. It's the way he uses his finger-gun. This is facile use of a common sign extending its usual function to fit this song. I really enjoyed watching his interpretation. Very serious. Focused. Tight. On point. On time. On the beat. Then his older brother barges in and totally messes him up, reveals the situation of zero privacy in family situation, then boyish playing and goofs and bloopers that blow the whole original seriousness but not its original coolness.

And I am taken back in time to my own family and my own brothers and sisters totally messing me up while also providing my entire nurturing environment that allowed me to pursue outside interests to my heart's contentment. Thank you, family, for all that you gave me.

About that gun.

All the other kids with their pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.

All the other kids with their pumped up kicks, you better run, better run faster than my bullet.

Pumped up kicks is improved sneakers. They had best run faster than a bullet. 

We must see all the other kids with improved sneakers. And we must see "better run," in a race, faster than his gun. Then repeat, the second time faster than a bullet. I need to see "better" and I need to see a race between the improved sneakers people first between a gun and then between a bullet. But I do not see all those things. All of it. Not just the main part of it. This refrain is repeated. 

We see "gun" and we see something move past the gun and that's it. Very abbreviated. 

Do you see a "rolled cigarette" or just a regular cigarette?

The sign used here for "kid" means to joke or tease. The sign for kid like a child is one of those unusual signs that moves outside the customary space, the hand moves to the side of the body and indicates the top of the head of an invisible little kid standing there. You can indicate the supposed age by the height or the level of your hand.  So, he says, "cowboy-jest" not "cowboy-boy." But he did say "kid" in sign. See how that works? It messes you up. His sign for "kid" fits the concept-cloud for joke, tease, jest in that language, but he is using it from his English concept-cloud that includes child, boy, girl, lad, lass, tot. It's a clash of the concept-clouds involving the word "kid." The interpreter will have to do "cowboy hat - child," and stand there momentarily embodying that persona and the two concepts ring through -- the Cowboy Kid.

For Korean pop dance level of excellence the interpreter will have to show everything in the lyrics, show the phrase the moment it is spoken, have key words hit on point, but this student does not. However, he does indicate what the song is about and he keeps up phrase for phrase, and does very well graphically. I like the coolness of this boy quite a lot.

Tents in the city

Denver Colorado. Democrat governor, Jared Polis, Democrat mayor, Michael Hancock.

The middle of July a friend and I took Lyft to the Woods restaurant in RiNo, a tasteful outdoor thing going on at the edge of town looking back onto the town and outwardly to the mountains. It's neato-mosquito and all the super cool kids go. You get out of their goofy elevators and walk a l-o-n-g hallway lined with kegs stacked on thick heavy keg-holders. You get the impression that they serve an awful lot of various beer. 

     "I bet you ten dollars they're empty."

Tap tap tap. Hollow. 

On the way back we took stock of damage of protests, not that bad really, but right before we get to my apartment we must pass by Civic Park and the other park on the other side of Broadway and Lincoln to the capitol all completely covered with tents. 

This is a first for us lifelong Denver residents. 

Think about your tent. Using it in the city. They are doing this.

We discussed this so far as possible in a cab two blocks from my home. Too bad. So sad. So much to think. So much to say. So much to analyze. So much to prioritize. So very much to sort.

Then within the next two days they were gone. 


From the capitol parks. 

It's a really cool area. Very well taken care of. Site of very many civic activities through the summer, all seasons actually, all held up now because of Covid-19 and because of political upheaval, and these tents. 

Within the next two days all the tents had been cleared out.

Just like that.

Within the next few days the tent-people moved two blocks south and set up on the thin strip of grass that line the sidewalks to the Denver Art Museum. I suppose they did this in other directions as well.

This thin strip of grass is the spot in the area where dog owners throughout walk their pets. To poop. I can guarantee that every single square inch of grass was at one time topped with dog poo. Now the tents are covering all the dog poop spots. 

See, the Covid thing is a health hazard. Presumably. The Tent-people are creating another health hazard on top of that. Definitely. On top of the dogs, and adding their own.

And Denver takes care of its indigent and its homeless. We are extremely liberal people. We take care of one another with impressive kindness and understanding. We talk about this kind of crap all the time. All the time. Constantly. Food drives. Clothing drives. Coat drives. Canned goods drive. Stupid shit you have in your pantry drives, Mistakes you made that you'd like to inflict on others drive. Ski equipment drives, hang glider drives, mountain climbing equipment drives. We are insanely good-hearted people. Interested in your wellbeing.

Disturbed, Sound of Silence

A metal band picked up Sound of Silence to cover as they do energizing old songs with new arrangement and instruments but this one was different. At first I'm stuck, oh crap, he's going too slowly, this whole thing is going to be a total drag. David Draiman increases the power of his voice incrementally as he goes section to section without giving up its full richness. He inverts familiar phrases. Three times, I think, phrases that are meant to rise instead descend for additional metal profundity. Draiman yells without abandoning his original richness. That is, he takes us listening to the limit he knows of the richness-intensity of his voice. He goes very high and powerful. We know he can go even higher but not with the same depth and richness that he starts out low and slow two whole octaves ago. The power of his voice and his control blows my mind.

And it's not just my mind. It's everyone's mind.

This band has opened this very old song to a whole new generation who love it in its new form.

What does David Draiman say of this? How did this even happen?

Baby beans

They're like the June Taylor dancers or Olympic synchronized swimming emerging from the soil sequentially.

A bit late. But who cares?

The line of beans continues to the left in another pot.

And so on to another pot. A trench is formed in each pot with seeds in the trenches and with bulbs or whatever planted in front of them. 

These trenches are over-planted terribly. Nobody sensible plants so many so close together. There are actually three species in each trench and the entire trench is sprinkled with seeds. There is none of this, 'two inches apart' crap. I need to curate them so much as possible up the balcony railing.

The left half of the balcony has Morning Glory seeds all the way across with very long Chinese brown beans. 

The right half of the balcony has pots with trenches filled with another type of beans and a another type of Morning Glory. 

Cucumbers sporadically both sides, mostly the middle.

Three types of seeds in each trench for things that climb. I forget what else I put in there. 

The Chinese long beans form a wall of foliage then they produce pods that grow an inch each day so that at the end of the season the fading wall of leaves is draped with extraordinarily long beans just hanging there pendently, oddly somewhat sexually. They received the most interesting responses from women, "May I touch one?" 

Small beans in long pods. I suppose you eat the whole pod. These beans were all grown last year. 

The other bean is a large white casserole type that is pickier about germination. A few did grow last year, but very late, and they were planted three times. They're from France. Haricot Tarbais. This year they have not germinated yet. I did not pre-soak the beans. But boy, are they ever being soaked now. 

2020 summer Caladium preparation

We're behind schedule but that is okay.

Apparently the reaction to pandemic caused a bit of UPS delay but not too badly. There were two shipments of caladium bulbs and both shipments were delayed.

The first order was for all of us. A patio-worth of bulbs for six different people. Four here where I live and two outside this apartment. 1/6 of the shipment was addressed to my new general practician. I gave him a bunch of bulbs last year but none of them worked. I gave bulbs to his office workers and those all failed too. His office is bad news for caladium bulbs.

But that's how we learn about plants. By killing them. We are serial plant killers.

So try again this year except with more bulbs.

So the first shipment was divided into two, 1/6 to the doctor and 5/6 to me to divide out. So I saved boxes for this.

But the caladium place in Florida sent all of the bulbs to the doctor. He left a message on my phone a bit confused saying that he doesn't know what to do with them, but hey, thank you. And my phone had died so I did not get the message until I had a new phone that was working and that took over a week.

It was quiet around here.

Now the doctor has way more caladium bulbs sent to his clinic than he knows what to do with.

He is a smart man. He'll figure it out.

But he'll do the wrong thing.

I cannot fix it. I cannot go in and say, "Oh, you got all of our bulbs. That was a mistake." He has already accepted the whole thing as his, my response was non-existent. Here is what he should do:

1) Keep what he wants
2) Give a portion to his office assistants.
3) Give some to the clinic lawn-care guys to incorporate into the landscaping.

That's what should happen, but it wont be. He'll probably keep some for next year and kill them. He'll goof on planting them. He'll keep the whole box without even thinking about his help or his clinic. Most will die. Some will live and they will be spectacular.

But I must re-order the redirected 5/6.

And this really pushes us back into the season. I did this before, planted late and then planted sequentially, and they all worked wonderfully. I even planted them, saw the result, and thought, "Oh man, I need a lot more of these." Ordered more after the first had already settled and then shot up. The second was greatly delayed but they were still gorgeous late into the season when the first round was dying back. So these will be like those.

There are two men that live here inside our floors of apartments stacked like horseshoes. One is a cop and the other a retired vet. They both have a lot of message type things around their front doors, plaques signaling good citizenship and Christian values. The cop had imitated my balcony style to an extent. The vet likes to grow a lot of things. Everyone else is too busy for this kind of stuff. The other resident's efforts are half-hearted.

I see the cop's balcony door opened but nothing happening over there. Planters are empty. I see junk on the vet's balcony but nothing growing. These two guys are out of it. They are shut down for the season. Their balconies show this. Their pandemic reaction has shut them down. The ladies in the office are closed off. We don't even know if they're in there. There are no sounds, no activity, no communication.

My outside doctor is confused about plants and in possession of everyone else's original order.

My friend is unresponsive.

I must burst into this.

I must face rejection. I must accept this can be a massive failure. I already bought everyone's bulbs twice. All signals are bad. Here goes.

The box is heavy as h-e-double pallet jack blades. I couldn't even pick it up.

Something is not right. There is no white. I made a point to choose from red and from pink and from white.

Eh, what the heck. I don't care.

The ladies in the office and a gentleman, whoever is in there, each have modest approaches. Their box equals a full balcony-worth to fill with bulbs but they must break it down however they wish. I left index cards in their drop box explaining myself and I left the carton outside on their impeccably spotless furniture. They'll have to read the cards and they'll have to do something with their box if only to return it. I have no idea what they will do. They could even give them to the building guys to plant in our own giant pots. They could give them to their favorite residents. I think they will divide them out and take them home. And I think that later this year I will hear how beautiful they are. 

The cop was home. He answered his door cautiously. Once the door was opened and he was facing me he was incredibly gracious. 

What did he say that got me? I must recall this.

It was something about looking down onto my balcony.

I told him to gouge out their eyes like a potato. This freaks out the bulb like they're being attacked by an animal and it causes them over-produce the growth hormone that you just now gouged out. Even if it is already growing. Gouge it out and make it start over. Plus it shows which direction to plant them. And that will result in much fuller foliage. Then you can sit back and watch its exploding beauty. 

Then he said something remarkably slick.

He said, "I sit back and appreciate the beauty of your balcony. I've been waiting for you. When are you going to plant yours?"

A cop said that to me.


I must say, he accepted graciously. 

So did the vet. The vet seemed happy to see me, pleased to get up and talk to me without a mask. Pleased to accept the box of bulbs. He assured me he'd plant them. He was extremely pleased and gracious and eager even though I jolted him from slumber.

That's it for the two residents and the two or three people in the office. Now for the long-term friend. 

He lives a straight shot east but I must go through Cheesman Park.

He had not been responding to my emails. So I behaved as if he had. I left three email messages indicating my intention, then finally indicating the time. It will be a hit and run. I'll park in front, plant them, water them, and leave. 

When I arrived he was sitting on his steps. 

I had to park at some distance. I pushed my little cart past the font doors of the stately townhouses. 


The whole row of condominiums has taken on an intensified classical look. Apartment after apartment, the fronts had all been terraced with marble dividing the layers. Each door has individually chosen heavy framed placards with classical content. Large vases arranged on the steps. Flowers pouring over the steps. Everything tasteful. Everything just so. 

A bit pissy.

My friend's concrete walkway is now marble. The yards in the front are divided ridiculously. They overlap the next person's apartment. His yard is everything to the right of his walkway and steps to the next walkway. 

 It took me awhile to park. He disappeared in the time that it took me. I started work to the left of his sidewalk and became immediately discouraged with the state of the soil. It's terrible. There is some landscaping with failed sections with the surface coated with periwinkle. Underneath is pure hard gray clay with no trace of worms. I would need an ice-axe. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to plant one bulb.

My friend appeared again. He told me I'm on the wrong side. His side is all much better dirt. Covered with bark bits. He failed to mention the fronts had all been terraced. He failed to mention two other men had already helped him plant a front garden. I am the third person applying my hand to his little front garden. 

I said, "F'k'n-a, man, this whole place is a lot more classical." 

He laughed. It's a thing with them. He told me that he put rows of lights on his steps and the housing organization told him to turn them off. Then he changed them to blue and they told him to turn them off again. So he has a plan to work them back on slowly. 

I said, "Each condominium makes it look like Unsinkable Molly Brown's house." 

He roared laughing. I hadn't seen him laugh that hard. It's not that funny, but for him it hit the nail on the head.  Her mansion is just a few blocks away, and the whole place looks like a wreck with mixed classical plaques and vases and statues that combine Greek and Roman and Egyptian cultures all over the place. Good Lord, it makes you edgy just walking past it much more so walking into it.

The original plan was shot. The whole idea now is different. I assessed the work that was already done on three layers, the blending of tall and short, the distribution of plants, and I interspersed the bulbs among them. I saw where the original began to run out of plants. I tried to anticipate possible failures within the garden and planted bulbs to fill sparse areas and future sparse areas. Another layer I planted bulbs in line tight among low-level plants. It took an hour. I departed. 

Each person with whom I had contact was pleasant and gracious and eager to participate. The opposite of what I had thought. 

We'll see how this goes. 

Since I could do his garden in one hour then I can do mine that quickly too. All that is left for me is to plant my own bulbs. My garden is even more convenient than his.

And I have the best of all dirts.

Oh! I just now got a message. As I am writing this my new phone notified me. It's the guy who did not respond to emails but who was sitting on the steps when I arrived. 
Thank you so much for your work today. It was nice to say hi. I'll be watching for the first growth for sure. I'm excited already.

Call Me Maybe, ASL version

VRS stands for Video Relay Services. It's for sign language on a screen across the internet. I love this video because the kids are beautiful. The video doesn't have that many views, 48,000, while it has a strong positive reaction in comments.

Governor Polis, Colorado

I am waiting for the pizza guy to give him ten dollars. He is bringing a pizza for people we cannot see. He cannot see them either, and they cannot see him.

A woman is wearing a mask and waiting between a door and a window and another door, for someone to come out so that she can either go in and take their place, or join them going out. I don't know if she is coming or going.

She is alone there under her mask, waiting. One lonely soul in temporary suspension, within the city's period of suspension, waiting for her moment within that waiting through a pandemic period for returning to work.


I too am alone.

I charmed her. Poured it right on. No warning. No warm up.

I was also wearing a mask. Try that sometime. Charm a woman who is wearing a mask while you are wearing a mask. Two random souls alone connect. Point blank. Go for it.

"I listened to Governor Polis today for only the second time. Larger in the frame was his sign language interpreter. I listened carefully and watched very carefully."

The woman's eyes lit up. Her face came to life. She looked directly at me. She made sounds. She said something under her mask.

"Nobody says anything the way that I'd say it. Every time I watch them they do things differently. Nobody ever matches me.

It's just one of those things that leaves me self-questioning. Am I really this idiosyncratic?

Polis is exceedingly glib. He rattles off the names of state agencies like they're all close family friends. He is extremely detailed and dry. I felt sorry for the interpreter. He must listen to that crap then show it and so very much of it is precise but adds nothing to the picture that's appreciable. The hearing version can put you to sleep. The sign language version of that is worse. The man did poorly. But his material was hardly visualize-able. It was just legal-schmegal Byzantine bureaucracy talking to itself in careful skillful legal-eze. Polis is very smart and times like this he gives the smart answers. It is not useful to most listeners. "

The woman said, "plerf nerf nerf glerf dilt zindit inst munxt intisitic." I think. I'm not really sure.

I continued, "Then Polis switched to Spanish.

The interpreter does not speak Spanish. He just stood there nonplussed.

Boy, did he ever look stew-pid. Because he is larger in the t.v. frame than Polis.

He could have just said in sign language, [I said to the woman in sign language] 'speaking Spanish' but I did not see that.

Polis speaks Spanish like such a gringo. He naturally uses higher-level English vocabulary put to English / Spanish cognitives. The whole thing sounds like gringo reading a textbook. I think he sounds the way I do. His pronunciation is very good but there is still that original white guy speaking through everything. He is very easy to understand because of the cognitives. Very easy. But it all adds up the the same legalese. Honestly, I don't know why the interpreter was stumped.

That job would have been perfect for me. I could have kept right on going because Polis' Spanish sounds so much like English that's how I would be hearing and picturing him. But I am very glad it was not for me because this particular Polis speech about what the state is doing to open back up is boring as f."

The woman became animated just as the pizza guy arrived. Her arms flipped around somewhat excitedly. The driver thinks at first that she is talking about pizza. She was signaling to me attitude with a hand on her hip and the other hand waving around. The pizza guy needs to know who this pizza and salads are for. The woman makes clear she is Democrat. She voted for Polis. She likes Polis. She thinks that he's great. She did not know that he speaks Spanish. That was new to her. It makes her like him more. She thought that was funny. She pictured the scene and followed the interpreter was stumped. A worker came in from the back and another woman came forward from the back so the lobby was suddenly filled with people coming and going and pizza delivery sorted and tipped. The woman laughed under her mask and fogged up her glasses. The woman I am speaking to and the last woman to come forward joined then left together through yet another door. The pizza guy left. The employee left. I left, and suddenly the lobby was empty. And that answered, she was going, not coming.

Today's second national anthem

For all the governor's out there who've overstepped. Your governance depends on the agreement of the governed. And several of you make yourselves look like whack jobs.

I'm surprised they didn't suspect Trump on this point. 

I'm not really listening so it's natural I haven't heard anyone talk about Trump delivering an exercise in federalism; the idea that power resides with the states. The impulse for a Democrat president would be to use emergencies to gather power at the national level and issue directives for the whole country. Such as what Bush 2 did and that tells you about his uniparty impulses. But Trump made clear that power lies with the states. I read several tweets from Democrats mocking Trump for being too weak to lead and now each state has to flail around for their own solution. 

And now that they are flailing around for their own solutions, several of them are doing quite poorly.

Coming off as the thing they describe Trump of being. 

And our media is hopeless. Worse than ITAR-TASS because they're free but they flog for a political party voluntarily. 

The song was written as Viet Nam protest but it's the anthem for today. Surprising how well it's held up. I was impressed in comments how many people adore this song for their own reasons.

There is no video up for this song in ASL presently. Too old for today's kids. What a bummer. Because it's perfect for them. I was signing along as Edwards was singing it and I was thinking how excellent this song is for interpretation. I never used this song for practice, but it would have been a good one for that. I imagined being in high school and showing this song to the class. I could see the people I was showing this to, I imagined it really well. I saw my own teenage arms and hands. I created a mental scene and veritably projected myself into it.

I should have stopped shooting up heroin a lot earlier.


To compensate for this shortcoming of not having the video I'd like to offer another video involving ASL and sunshine. Except this guy is inviting it. It's the cutest little thing. It's a kid in a boat singing about letting the sunshine come down on him. He's out in a boat floating around in circles in the middle of a lake with nobody around to judge him except his nana. His sign is a bit idiosyncratic, he is very good.

Tokyo red light district during COVID-19

The walk is interesting to me. This is like the Disneyland version of the Tokyo I lived in as a boy for three years. The Tokyo streets made for foot traffic do not appear real, black with white lining and clean as a whistle. One gets the sense of being inside an ant farm. The excessive signage is fairly uniform and uncreative although flashy.

But then to them written words are art. They're seeing art. We're seeing squiggly words.

Shutting down the entire economy is voluntary and nearly everyone complies leaving the whole city to non-compliers. 

Denver Colorado is very much like this. I was amazed how easy it was for everyone to just go along no matter how damaging that was for a lot of vulnerable people.  

A LOT of vulnerable people. 

In the beginning a friend called and told me all the waitress at his breakfast place in a hotel were crying. It really hurts a lot of people who live paycheck to paycheck. A full month disruption means disaster.

It was disaster for a lot of people. 

Yet everyone just went along. Most people did.

Cara Brotman at John Kohler's garden

I love this so much. At first I was all, "Oh man, John invited another earth-woman daughter of the corn into his garden. This is going to be a drag" but Cara adds so much through her excitement and her ability to describe what she is tasting and how it changes. Cara is the type of visitor you'd like to have in your garden. She's perfect.

Land O' Lakes butter

The company changed their logo to remove the native American native.

Words all over the place about this. The guy who painted the logo was an American native. But that doesn't matter anymore. I never buy this butter anyway. Presumptuous. Although I did just now buy some Irish butter that is twice as expensive for half as much. It's a test. We'll see.

Then in comments this guy says:

"Future generations of teenaged boys will be denied the fun of cutting a flap out of the butter box in the image and putting the maiden's knees in that window. Ahh, the good, clean fun of the 20th century."

Cut a flap out and that makes a window. Insert knees presumably from another of the same picture.

So that she has tits! Instead of the box that she's showing.

oooOOOOOOOOOoooh. Now I see it.

Let's call that "Land O' Lakes boob trick" and see if there's a video on YouTube.

There are a million of these. Done different ways to varying degrees of artfulness. Some make a flap out of the whole front from the box that she's holding to the bottom of her knees, then fold the long flap such her own knees are brought up to cover the box. 

Prurient. Just my sort of thing. 

But then your thumb must hold it for you to admire that tiny space where her knees covers her display box and your own big fat thumb is right there holding the flap in place, and the whole front is ruined. 

 Other methods allow you to remove your hand so you can admire the whole label from a distance with only a small window adjusted to display her tits from another picture. 

Apparently teenage boys were all over this logo applying their vast collective creativity to minuscule effect. 

Aerogarden Peter Peppers

There are two Aerogardens with chile peppers, one old style with fluorescent lights and the new one with LED lights.

The first Aerogarden is planted with seven Peter Pepper plants. Apparently one in the back died and I only just now noticed it. So, six Peter Pepper plants.

The second Aerogarden has nine compartments, but only four are planted with Peter Peppers.

That's ten Peter Peppers total.

But look at the difference in results between types of Aerogardens.


The plants are young and budding all over the place. A bud appears at the first Y in the stems. Both tops of the Y also produce a leaf, a flower and another Y stem. Sometimes it makes a ᴪ so the plant builds a structure exponentially upward and outward. They appear very unplanned. 

And there is nothing worse, it just breaks my heart to see little shriveled flowers fallen onto the Aerogarden platform unfertilized. It means those peppers are wasted. Each flower has its place in the structure. Each of the fallen flowers means another wasted spot in the structure. 

The baby plants under the domes are Habanero peppers. 

I'm planting two types of peppers this year; Peter Peppers an Habanero. 

I figure I can buy all other types easily enough and a lot less expensively than I can grow them.

The old-time fluorescent Aerogarden did very well. The Peter Peppers germinated quickly and the plants grew rapidly. They flowered and produced fruit almost immediately. 

The new LED Aerogarden did even better. The leaves are larger and much darker and much more compacted. There is very little elevation between layers so it grows in height more slowly and the buds develop a little more slowly presently. I kept peeking in and seeing buds developing but not opening. I think they're opened now. I haven't checked today. I don't know how the bottom leaves are getting any light. I'm ready to remove one of the four right now because it is intruding on the Habaneros that are just babies. I'll put it in a 4X4 pot and keep it very wet with the same treated water and near the same lights. 

Both Aerogardens had the same liquid organic fertilizer and dry organic fertilizer from MI Gardener.

They are both watered exactly alike. 

Both Aerogardens did very well while the new LED one is blowing my mind. When I put the plants outside I'm not sure that partial sun can do as well as this Aerogarden full blast. These are densest chile plants that I've ever seen.

Geodes shadowbox frame

I thought he'd have the boy do something artistic. What thought went into this arrangement of stones?

They spaced out opening the package of stones over several days. I thought they'd spend ten minutes bashing open geodes, done, then that's it for the next thing, but no, they paced themselves like stoics.

Two boys with a large heavy mallet that could smash each geode to bits if the boys didn't control it and both with attitudes that they had been opening geodes all their lives.  

On one of the days, the older boy lined up the opened geodes in a splendidly interesting way. I wanted him to do something similar for the shadow box frame. Apparently it became more important to show all the stones. 

I sent them the stones. Seeing the box of geodes is more than box of stones, later I sent them the shadow box frame. I figured they could save the best. Apparently they're saving everything. 

I searched Amazon, found them, ordered them, that was it. 

Later I went back to read reviews. 

Always read worst first. They say some are duds. One says all of them were duds. Some say they are all blue. Some say all are the same uninteresting thing. 

Then the 5-star ratings. 

They love absolutely everything about them; booklet, little display stands, great variation in colors, white, red, blue, clear, green. Great fun. Girls love it. 

I researched a lot.

A video of a young woman shows her attempting to open a geode with a hammer at her dining room table. Her nails are painted bright red. You sort of see the geode behind two hands with fingers tipped in bright red. Then you see only red. The mesmerizing movement of ten red dots massaging a rock unnecessarily is calculated to draw your attention off the rock and onto her sensual hands. Her hands pause and pose with the rock repeatedly such to maximize red fingertip exposure and not to show the rock. It's boring. 

And you're sitting at home watching and thinking, "Goddamnit woman, smack the thing with the hammer already." And the whole time the constantly moving red dots get nowhere with the geode. I turned it off. I have no idea if she gets it opened or not. 

See what I mean? 

I couldn't watch it.

I don't know how it ends.

Then I saw another video of a boy with his father. Dad was watching without interfering. The boy had a better hammer than the girl but he was hopeless. He had no frame of reference, no way of knowing how hard to hit the hammer. He did okay but it took a very long while. 

The boys did much better than any of the other videos. With their daddy's guidance (my brother), they got such aplomb. 

They both know the mallet can smash the rocks to bits so the trick is controlling the impact. It's the opposite problem that the girl has. It's a series of decreasing control. My brother picked the right tool.

He is extremely involved with the boys. He watches them and he gives them a few directions. The boys treat him as another of the boys, the best one, the one that guides them and provides them. It's very Lord of the Flies. They both want his attention so badly. They both want his respect. 

I saw these, went to Amazon, bought them.

After that I realized there are a lot of other sources right there on Amazon. They don't have to be from National Geographic. Actually, there are tons of these geodes. I read the reviews for all of them. I enjoyed reading about their experiences. I learned that very many are duds. To expect that. I learned that sometimes people are not happy. I worried about the boys being disappointed. I tried to prepare them. Turns out National Geographic is a fine kit, a very good choice. The whole family loved it. As we see you get a lot of crystals. The Ukrainian wife liked reading the book and identifying the stones. She liked having the vocabulary for the rocks. Even the dog! They crack open a geode and the dog rushes in and grabs a geode and runs off with it. He doesn't know why the rock is interesting he just knows the humans think it's spectacular so he took the center of attention. 


The song is by Justin Timberlake. Jake Kodish choreographed the song and demonstrates. His free-form style has several nice touches; throwing a kiss at a point in the lyrics when a kiss is not appropriate, sudden hanging poses, showing filthy hands on his own body and so on throughout the random routine. It's nearly impossible to think of the entire spontaneous-looking thing as a routine. But it is.

Maybe Kodish made it up on the spot. Maybe he had been practicing some moves, but it looks spontaneous to me. It took the whole thing for me to realize each set that follows is copying Jake Kodish. There is a distinct move at the beginning, a rocking motion between legs, that clues they're all doing the same thing.

I really really like the young man in the center for the first set, he slathers on his own interpretation, little things within each movement, flicks off his pants, off his jacket, some movements alluring, others rejecting, and that face. He is so young! The man at the end knocks it out.

How do you even recall each move and hit it on point like this?

I could never do that. I could never do anything like line-dancing. And it's weird because I was always very good at picking up ASL signs. This is very much like sign language.

Except sign language makes sense. And this dancing does not. There are only a few points of appositeness where movement can be made to show the lyrics along with the mood of them and they really stick out.

I think, to memorize dance steps, each movement, each step, each hand configuration, each pose, each gesture and each facial expression and body positioning are linked and told as a story. Each body configuration and placement must say something in the story. The more bizarre the story, the better. Bizarre stories are much easier to remember. That is, I think each dancer has a story they are repeating, recalled in such a way to include every single detail of body positioning that strings together and is told along with the music. It's spectacular.

The song Filthy by Justin Timberlake shown in ASL by Clever Trevor.


This is my nephew's video sent to me by way of thank you. It's a Kiwico kit sent to him each month.

That's turned out to be a pleasant purchase. It gets the two boys focused on something that is not electronic and it forces them to think about me at least once a month so I stay at least a little bit relevant. They're very young boys and they totally trip on these kits.

Except for the ones their mother withholds for being too much of a mess like the spinning paint one. Can you imagine? A motor affixed inside the box that the kit comes in with a platform that spins. The kids drizzle paint onto the spinning platform to produce a spun design. Mum says, "No way, Jose." Wise Mum.

Boesemani rainbow

There are two of these in the tank, survivors from originally ten. 

I don't know what went wrong but they just kept dying. One after the other, boink, boink, boink, and then there were only two. And those two are thriving. Apparently. They play around all day.

They are just now coming into their colors. Honestly, I expected them to be a bit more rainbow-y. 

I thought they would be more like this:

Or why else would they even mention a rainbow? 

Easter box

I think it's an Easter Box.

It's from my two nephews under the guidance of my brother and his wife. I send them crap all the time so they feel an urge to respond. I think.

It's lovely.

And it took a lot of effort.

Edit: The kids said it's Valentine's Day and Easter box.

This is me smiling broadly. Bell's palsy makes it look dour.


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