Monday, November 28, 2011

Well ... I'm not dead ...

Sure feel close to it though ... Fever, aches, ear aches, bad attitude, groans, ithcy nose. Yup, I'm sufferin'. Where IS all the sympathy?

On the home front, I've been cajoled, begged, blackmailed ("your students have been blessed by your teaching") into changing my mind about quitting the school district. I've relented in part. I'm going to continue to teach but with half the load I carry now. Bribing me with a fancy certificate didn't work. It was the "I'm sorry I'm a jerk I was born that way" apology from the principal that did it.

If I feel better later today, I'll tell you more about my adventures with the fairies. Right now, I'll tell you this, though it's out of place in the story. The little female hid in my shoulder-length hair when I went junk shopping with my aunt. I always check the "wares" section for something nice. Usually it's all junk. When I passed the soap dishes she went into a jumping up and down frenzie. One of them was shaped like an old fashioned bathtub. Just her size. I bought it. She soaks her pregnant self in that miniature tub. I sympathize. I've been there.

Anyway, more about that later.

Right now (when I'm not posting this or running to the bathroom to do what one with the ick must do) I'm finally writing up all our notes on American Literalism. I'm trying to make a fairly complex subject as simple as possible. Our first go at this was just awful. We've debated it, done more research, debated it some more. We've discussed where this fits in our outline. It's enough to make my writing partner lose more hair, which he is rapidly doing. Soon enough I'll be taking a chamois cloth with me when I drive up there ... just to polish his bald pate.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Stuff

I keep my old pamphlets and booklets in archival sleeves. I just finished filling another three-ring binder with the odd bits I've purchased recently.

He's the list:

John Thomas Duffield: Discourse on the Second Advent, a Discourse Delivered at the Synod of New Jersey, in the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, N.J., October 16, 1866.

G. S. Faber: Napoleon III: The Man of Prophecy, 1865.

The Present Shame and Future Glory of the House of Israel, 1866.

J. N. Darby: The Dispensation of the Kingdom of Heaven, no date but c. 1860.

Bishop Hopkins on the Prediction of the Second Advent in 1843, 1843.

William N. Pile: Six Lectures on the Bible and How to Study It, 1897.

N. Wilson: Prophetic Destiny of Russia, England, Persia, Africa, and the Jews, 1878.

Mystery, Suspense ... Oreos!

I’ve read and re-read a single page document dated February 27, 1896. It’s a bill of sale. The terms are vague. A store and all its fixtures are sold together with additions to the structure. It’s an odd document, but not really unusual in contents. It comes from an era when one could own a building but not the land under it.

It is strange for what is omitted. The dollar amount is omitted. I’m not certain why. All it says is that the sale price was paid in cash and notes. My pixie-historian’s sense tells me that there is more here than meets the eye. Lacking further evidence, there is no way to pursue this.

This is a historian’s puzzle. Some of these puzzles cannot be resolved. There may, in fact, be no puzzle at all. I’ve read thousands of words written by the man who crafted this document. He is vague even when appearing to be specific. He dates things to an approximation. He writes of about this year or that. He speaks of things happening near that time or this. He deals in vagueness, and he does it for no apparent reason. So this may be nothing more than additional vagueness.

I don’t think this document covers any great sins. I don’t mean that at all. At least I don’t think I mean that. I feel as if I am missing something here. I wish I knew what it is. I’d post the paper here, but I don’t have permission to publish it on an open blog.

I need an Oreo.

The Smell of Silver Polish

Such a day … such a nasty day. The weather is bad; it’s windy and overcast and on the cold side. But, that’s not why this is a nasty day. No indeed it is not. This house was built in early 1940s, and at one point it was divided in two. When I inherited it, we restored it to single dwelling status, but we left the heating system intact, mostly. We left the two old furnaces in place as back-up for the heat pump system. They provide the fans for circulation. Cost was a factor. Replacing the two old furnaces with a single new unit was enormously expensive. To balance the system, we have to keep the double doors between what used to be two dwellings closed. It’s much easier to remind a gaggle of girls to shut the doors than it is to fund a new furnace. Besides, Knobby Knees assures me that these old (read antique) American made furnaces are better than what comes out of Mexico these days.

The fan motor died. Four hundred and thirty dollars later, it’s working again. This was not fun at all. I had to use property tax money to fund the furnace. Now I have to make up the tax money out of household money. Dang it! Of course the old motor was almost as old as I am, and it owed nothing to no one.

So … bad enough, huh? But pixies are compulsive reorganizers. I decided to move my biggest bookcase … by myself. Result is a four inch long slice in my arm.

Observation 1: P51s are still hot, and Richard Candelaria is one of my heroes.

I need a pie safe, one with a lock and key. I’ll have to bake more than I planned because they keep disappearing. Everyone’s innocent, of course, even if every last one of them including knobby knees has pumpkin breath.

Observation 2: I need a butler who loves the smell of silver polish.

Such tempers - Insulting a soldier and result - 1847

Tortured Grammar, Incest and Cumbrous Lawsuits - From a letter to the editor August 28, 1847

From Widdershins to Harry

Monday, November 21, 2011

My life with fairies - No. 2

You have to understand that there are several kinds of small fae. Some of them look very human, and, aside from their size and wings could pass for human. These have considerable human genetics. They’re usually attractive little things. They know it and strut it, but they’ll also gouge your eyes out and eat them for desert. Carry a sword, and never date one.

The two that have adopted us are not of that sort. They’re human looking after a fashion, but there is so much of “other” in them that you’d never mistake them for anything related to pixie or larger human. They tend to be shades of brown, though emotion will change their coloration. Their heads are very narrow; the eyes large and black; their lips are thin, their teeth sharp and pointy. They have, as do all fairies, considerable attitude.

There are smaller fae than these, but they’re hard to see and can do little damage because of their size. Even other fairies tend to ignore the smallest of the fae. The pair that has moved in on us is from a group treated as low class. Larger fairies alternately abuse them, teat them as pets, slaves or a ready food source. They lead a hard life. One would suppose that they would band together for their own protection, but they have no real unity and often abuse their own. That’s why I ended up being the … what? Damn it! Sometimes I feel as if I’m their mother or something.

I found them backed up against a wall by others of their kind who wanted the female. I’d have left that alone, except the male was protecting her. That’s unheard of. So, I pulled one off by his wings, (They screech when you do that.) pinned one to the wall with my sword, and batted three or four away. The two I rescued took refuge in my hair, and I’m stuck with them.

They treat our house as if it were an amusement park. I’ve had to stop them from swimming in the potty. The male thinks jumping up and down on the flush lever is true fun. If they had their own way, I’d have no privacy. And my dear Lord! The male flirts with anything female, even dolls.

Because their voice is high-pitched they’re hard to understand. My youngest seems to understand them best and translates for them. They wanted to sleep on my pillow. I forbade that in very plain terms, but they snuck under the bedroom door. Every time I moved one or the other of them scolded me. Finally – at my husband’s suggestion (Let’s call that ‘insistence’) - I shooed them out of the bedroom. Oh my soul! Have you ever seen a fairy pout? I thought pixies could pout. …

My youngest solved that problem by shoving one of her dolls out of a doll bed and giving it to them. I remind her that they aren’t our sort and that fairies of all sizes are dangerous. She just smiled and said, “Oh they won’t hurt me.” I’m not sure where she gets her confidence, but they treat her as if she were a goddess. This may have to do with the mirror and brush incident.

They were flying around my head while I was brushing out my hair. The female (I usually call her Mary. I can’t pronounce her slithery, oily name.) ran her fingers through her hair. Her unhappiness was apparent. I ignored it. They have poor hygiene and probably never comb their hair. The large fairies are vain, but the little ones are just umm natural may be a good word for it. It never occurred to me that given their social status among their own kind, they probably never had the opportunity to care for themselves past an elementary level.

Anastasia saw this through educated eyes. They’re doll size. If you have a doll, you comb its hair. Right? So she coaxed them into her bedroom and combed out the little thing's hair with a miniature doll comb. This sent them into raptures of delight. (I read that phrase in an old novel once.) Putting nail polish on the little fairy’s toes and fingernails was a challenge. A magnifying glass and water color brush did the trick.

Now yesterday morning, early, way-way early Katarina, daughter four, shook me awake. She stood beside my bed, blurry eyed and popping those tiny marshmallows in her mouth. The two fae stood on her shoulder rattling off something in their squeaky voices so swiftly that I couldn’t understand it at all.

“What?” I asked. “And why are you eating marshmallows at four am?”

“They threw them at me,” she said. It sounded rational, but in this house one never knows.


“They say that the blue house has fairies. Bad ones.”

“The blue house is vacant. Go back to bed.”

“Someone moved in this morning. I mean yesterday morning. You were sleeping.”

I held out my hand and the female landed on it. “Talk slowly,” I said. “What’s going on.”

“Fay-eer-ee,” she said. She gestured in a way typical of someone indicating large size. She made a knife cutting gesture up her belly and then a chewing gesture. This was bad.

Pixies can smell fairies. Our house smelled of these two, though my knobby-kneed Scot couldn’t smell them. You have to be pixie to have a nose that sensitive. So … what to do?

I grabbed my coat and slippers, and headed out the door. The two little ones followed. I figured we were safe that time of day, but I took my sword in hand and hoped the police weren’t patrolling our street. I didn’t want to explain an eighteen inch blade engraved with silver-chased phrases.

The blue house is six houses down from us. It’s been vacant for seven months. It wasn’t vacant anymore. And, yes, it smells of fairy. Not little fairy, but the big kind. I’ve killed my share of them, but it’s not easy and it’s not at all pleasant. It is, however, more than a little satisfying to bring down a rogue fairy and watch the blue iridescence creep over their bodies. It’s the mark of death and decay in fairy kind.

Old News

Amazing things turn up when you're looking for something else. Take, for instance, this news article from the Markdale, Ontario, Standard of September 6, 1883:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pixie Children, Vinegar, and Small Fairies.

Daughter 5, talking about Daughter 1: “Don’t talk to her! She’s cranky. I think she’s allergic to herself.”

Daughter 3 comes into kitchen. She is sipping her peach flavored water. I am cooking. She puts her water on the counter next to my bottle of white vinegar. Result is one startled pixie child.

I’m being followed by fairies. … This could be bad.

I’m overwhelmed with work.

I have written the intro part to one chapter six times and junked it as many times. I need to make the complex seem simple, not more complex than it is.

I rescued a pair of small fae. They’ve attached themselves to me. It reminds me of the time when I tutored a clueless young woman with Siamese cats. I loathe cats. They thought I was their personal chair.

I found one of the small fae bathing in my tea water. They have no manners.

The female is pregnant. I hope it’s not twins. I don’t know what I’ll do with four of these creatures. She likes coffee. If I don’t watch her every minute she hangs on to the side of my coffee cup and sips. She almost fell in once. I don’t share my coffee with small fae – not willingly anyway.

They’re sitting on top of my monitor as I type. I won’t tell you what they’re doing. We don’t discuss that in polite company. Shameless creatures!

They sit on my shoulder when we go out, hiding in my hair. It’s very disconcerting. I tried losing them in a candy store. They love chocolate, but apparently they like me more.

House training the small fae is a challenge. It’s not as though you can paper train them. They don’t like litter boxes. They do like African Violets. It seems to work for the violets too.

Their voices are very high pitched, so they’re hard to understand. I haven’t figured out their names. More or less I just call them what ever comes to mind. They always know I mean them.

They have very sharp teeth.

When the male is angry or upset he turns a delightful shade of purple.

Their base skin color is a dark mahogany brown.

They invite their friends over, but I make them have their parties in the back yard. I will not have a house full of high on chocolate fairies bouncing off walls and doing lord knows what embarrassing thing!

My life was complicated enough … though we haven’t had any mice in the neighborhood since they adopted me. The squirrels are terrified of the female, but I think the huge gray squirrel and the male are drinking buddies. Here is a good place to note that root beer may be non-alcoholic soda fit for children, but it will leave a small fae loopy for two days.

I’m thinkin’ I will have to keep notes and submit them to the royal society for the preservation of fae, crypto-critters and trolls.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fame - Guest Post from Occasional R.


The hit film and subsequent TV series FAME spawned a huge disco hit in 1980 – unsurprisingly entitled “Fame”. The lyrics included the words: “I’m going to live forever, Baby remember my name”.

I wonder how many readers of this blog can name the singer who had the original hit. If you are a child of the eighties you might manage it – Irene Cara actually. But if you didn’t give the answer before the buzzer went, the words “Baby remember my name” take on a certain irony.

The words of the song reflect a common human desire to want to be remembered – by someone – be it family or friends. And for others a bit more ambitious, the desire to even leave some kind of mark on “civilization”.

Looking back a century or more, the past masters at perpetuating their own memories had to be the Victorians in Britain. One only has to visit a 19th century municipal cemetery to see some amazing memorials to “the great and the good” of Victorian society. It was put rather nicely by a newspaper columnist – if you can’t take it with you, at least you can show the rabble you once had it!

However, this yearning for terra firma immortality can be quite useful to others if their hobby is family history. Unless your ancestors were all serfs or ag labs (agricultural laborers), they often strived to leave their mark in some way. And even the ag labs left interesting records – if only parish payments for tribes of children born out of wedlock.

A branch of my wife’s family came from a small town we will call G. It is actually quite a famous place today, and it used to have a huge second-hand bookshop where I picked up stacks of material on the lunatic fringe of Adventism. But, I digress. Back in the early Victorian era, it was a small market town, and the key ancestor, JH, was mayor several times over. Looking at it objectively today, it was “big fish in small pond” syndrome, or as H G Wells would describe it, “in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is King”.

Trawling through the Town Hall archives we came into the era of photography, and there we found a picture of JH – a pompous gentleman, extremely stout, posing by a globe, and so very pleased with himself. When he died, the papers gave a suitable eulogy, and a team of black horses pulled the hearse down the main street. Although his grave – discovered while tramping around the cemetery in the rain - was not the grandest by far. Perhaps his descendants had other uses for his money.

But while alive, JH did all he could to perpetuate his own memory. In his own honor, he donated to the town an ornamental drinking fountain. The ornate relief depicted a scene from the Gospel of John, chapter 4 – Jesus and the woman at the well at Sychar. Jesus talked of living water as a metaphor for everlasting life, and the woman – perhaps not the sharpest knife in the drawer – put the two together and came up with everlasting water...

The inscription below the image dwelt on JH’s beneficence and mayoral accomplishments.

Old newspapers showed that JH personally chose where his memorial should be installed –

directly in front of the gas works, as a fitting symbol of Victorian enterprise and progress.

Of course, as always, time moved on. The gas works ceased to be glamorous; they became the back end of town, and ultimately were abandoned and demolished. The frontage of JH’s fountain then languished as scrap metal in the corner of the council yard until an enterprising businesswoman with an eye to local history rescued it. By sheer chance we stayed in one of her properties for a vacation some years ago and an idle conversation rescued the subject. The big question had been what on earth were they going to do with it?

With a bit of lateral thinking, the council decided that it could go in the local bus station, fixed to the wall of the rather run down public toilets (or as US readers might prefer, rest rooms. However, in Britain, public toilets are not a place you would want to rest!)

So to this day, if you visit the town of G, JH’s proud monument to himself is firmly affixed to the wall of the local public conveniences. To our shame, we actually have a nice shiny photograph in our album of irreverent descendants pulling faces in front of it. (In the UK the technical term is “gurning”).

So what was that whirring sound we could hear? Probably JH spinning.

What was it that an ancient writer in Ecclesiastes wrote? – Fame? Ah – sorry Irene – Vanity of Vanities – all is Vanity.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I think I topped Anthony on odd and obnoxious search terms

Today .... from Egypt (of course) an Arab pervert came to my nice, tame blog looing for "Naked mother seduces son." As if!

You guys are such perverts! A curse on you and all your perverted brothers.

Dau 5

Daughter five has gotten more 'please consider our university' letters. Last one from U of W. My comment on that is: I'm flattered that you want my daughter to attend your university, but Cougars rule and Huskies drool.

Okay, so I didn't really send that ... but it crossed my mind.

My life with Pixie children ...

Daughter 2, looking over my shoulder: What’cha doin?

Me: Writing.

Her: Is it boring?

Me: Do you mean am I writing something boring or do you mean is writing boring?

Her: [Looks at me blankly] Yes.

Me: No, it’s only semi-boring. [I giver her a huggy pat thingie].

Her: Everyone’s still asleep.

Me: And you’re bored. … or hungry?

Her: Yes.

Me: To both?

Her: Yes.

Me: I bought French Toast Sticks. Why don’t you make us some, and we’ll watch a movie and eat them.

Her: Okay!

Me: [shouting after her] Don’t drown mine in syrup!

From Gary Inbinder

In my new novel, The Flower to the Painter (Fireship Press, 2011) Marcia Brownlow, the artist-heroine of my story, emulates her idol, the English artist William Turner. The following brief excerpt describes Marcia's impressions upon first viewing three famous Turners in a London museum.

I saw the great Turners for the first time and understood what Duncan meant about the ‘eye’. In Rain, Steam and Speed, a powerful engine emerged from a shimmering cloud of white and yellow highlights; reflected and refracted light defined solid objects. Turner was the first artist to interpret his world at fifty miles per hour, and he had preceded Monet by more than thirty years.

In The Fighting Temeraire, I saw more than patriotic nostalgia for Nelson’s navy, iron men and wooden ships. The blazing sunset and the ghostly old warship towed to her graveyard by an officious little steam tug was a requiem for a lost world. I recalled Edmund Burke’s famous words, “…the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”

While viewing Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus, I recalled a story Duncan had told me about a critic who chided Turner for not painting the portholes on a ship. When Turner explained that light shining on the ship’s hull obscured the portholes, the critic agreed, but complained that he still knew that the portholes were there. Turner replied, “I paint what I see, not what I know.” I wondered whether the greatest eye of his age sympathized with the enraged Cyclops blinded by the mocking little trickster. I also pondered the coming of a new era of painters who relied upon an inner eye to paint what they knew of their interior world. Perhaps, as Teeny observed, their deceitful hearts would betray their true eyes as they turned away from the tangible, external light and toward an inner darkness.

The Flower to the Painter is now available in Trade Paperback and e-book formats from, Barnes and Noble online, and other retailers. Thanks for inviting me back to guest post on your blog! Gary

Child - India, about 1930.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Roses are red,

violets are blue,

Pixes don’t write serious poems

even if you do.

Love is fine,

Kinda devine,

I like mine with cluddles and kisses

from someone who will do the dishes.

Hi, Anthony!
November 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Visit Anthony here:

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Widdershins to Harry:

widdershins said...

Harry? help!!!

Widder wants help with the picture puzzle. See below.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

just .... NO

"We need the leadership of Barack Obama," Mr. Sarkozy said after the two leaders huddled to start the meeting of the world’s industrialized and large developing nations. “We need the solidarity and support of the United States of America.”

We saved France financially when we made the Louisiana Purchase. We ignored French support for the Confederates and did not pursue reparations after the Civil War. England had to pay millions. We gave France a pass. We saved your butt in two world wars, even though French Forces fired on American forces in World War 2. I'll be damned if we should save your sorry Franco-German butts now. Grow up, Mr Sarkozy. Save your self. Use your resources. Use your leadership (If you can find where you hid it), and stop whining.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Treasure Hunting Pixie

I went treasure hunting with my Aunt today. It’s always fun to haunt the junk shops, even if I don’t find anything. But I have to confess that my Aunt who is over twice my age can shop long after I’m exhausted. She did that today too.

"So," you ask, "what did you find?" Books, of course:

A nice copy of S. King’s Fire Starter to replace a now worn and ratty copy.

Rick Riordan’s The Last Olympian. This is part of a Young Adult series. Fun books. My daughters love this series. I found a like-new copy for forty-nine cents. Nice, huh?

Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Real Story.

Laurie R. King’s O Jerusalem. If you’ve never read her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell stories you’ve missed out. This is a like new, unread copy.

… and then there were two history books:

Meacham’s American Lion and Johnson’s Thence Round Cape Horn.

You realize that I’m about to run out of space for books. This will ruin my life. I’ll have to move into a castle or something.

Now, at the Goodwill Store they bring out new items in big bins and let the customers paw through them before and as they’re put on shelves. I always avoid the crush though my aunt shoulders her way in. We were about ready to leave when the crowd thinned and I could look in the bin-carts. On first glace it all looked like junk or at least things I did not need or want. I shuffled a few items into the next bin and there … down on the bottom … were six Candlewick Pattern bread plates, the copper wheel engraved type, and one cup and saucer. There was also a cream pitcher, the tall pattern, not the short stemmed type. I’ve been collecting Candlewick as I see it. This is a nice find.
So how was your day?

Fair Warning to a Fool

"Raise high the black flags, children. No prisoners. No pity. I shall shoot any man I see with pity in him."  -- Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt

The message is in the music.

And you thought the first one was easy ...

where in the world is this?
Twenty questions. Widdershin's is up.