Saint George's Day to 2Pi Day

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — Saint George's Day to 2Pi Day

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2019, June: Spring-Summer — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her ears.

St George was a naturist!Feast Day of  Saint George

In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote of chivalry and the knights of old. He tried to show Scouts a new path to chivalry and honor. Saint George was the Patron Saint of England, and of the Knights of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry in Europe. They were familiar subjects to most English boys when B-P was writing. As Ward wrote to remind me: "St. George and the Dragonet" is a short audio satire recorded August 26, 1953 by Stan ... Scripted by Freberg and Daws Butler, the spoof combined the tale of "St. George and the Dragon" with the popular 1950s radio-TV series Dragnet.

The legend you are about to hear is true   
> Only the needle should be changed to protect the record
> This is the countryside
> My name is St. George …

And while I'm at it, do you remember Little Blue Ridinghood...

And what food(s) are appropriate for the feast? Traditionally of course, only the fairest of maidens were appropriate but these days any well rounded kid of either gender will do, the easily caught ones are all couch potatoes anyhow. Just be sure to pick out the cellphone bits before serving. Thanks for the remembering. Especially the strawberry shortcut...

Mention of Boy Scouts Reminds me of Good Deeds

On Febter 12th (Happy B'Day Mom) I mailed a box of nine books to an address in Chico California. On  20 Febter USPS Tracking reported: "In Transit, Arriving Late". On 27 Febter the addressee wrote me: "It looks like your book package was seriously damaged in the mail, with the label having been pulled off and separated from the package itself, which is now stranded in San Francisco with no label on it."

Today, 18 April, the USPS Tracking website still says: “February 20, 2019 In Transit, Arriving Late. Your package will arrive later than expected, but is still on its way. It is currently in transit to the next facility.” I've been banging my head against the post office wall for a few weeks. Several hours flat out yesterday afternoon and this morning. Some excerpts:

On April 8th I wrote to the Office of Inspector General, an independent watchdog, and the Postmaster General, ended up at the Postal Fraud department and then was referred to the Dead Letter Office which is now called by some other acronym.

Someone from Fraud called me from Chicago this morning and said they were sorry and I said I'll bet you are. They said they understood my frustration. In a fit of quixotry I said I'm beginning to appreciate how some folks use the word "Postal". They said "We don't use that word around here".

Next I was transferred to The Lost Mail Recovery department; I said "You people have too many departments and you don't talk to each other". They said I needed to file a Mail Recovery Form, available on line or from my local post office. Went to Tonopah 85354 and asked. The website is indeed there but one must “create an account” in order to file the form. To say the least I was getting hot under the collar. I said to the clerk: "Look, you may not be the person who lost my mail, and you may not be the person I should be bitching at, but the Post Office lost my mail and the Post Office is going to find it. You are on that side of the counter so get used to it. Finally, after thumbing through several pages and manuals they called another post office and got a lead to the non-public post office website and the MRC Search Form. After fourty-five minutes of typing the form was submitted with ID# 6787021

I'll keep you postaled.

World Naked Gardening Day

Gardening has a timeless quality, and anyone can do it: young and old, singles or groups, the fit and infirm, urban and rural. An elderly lady in a Manhattan apartment can plant new annuals in her window box. Families can rake leaves in their back yard. Freehikers can pull invasive weeds along their favorite stretch of trail. More daring groups can make rapid clothes-free sorties into public parks to do community-friendly stealth cleanups.”  Get outside and pull a weed!

Ford Giveth And Ford Taketh Away

What really unites them, however, is their status as relics. They hail from an era when engine controls weren’t fully computerized, and when cars could be fixed using hand tools. They represent a relationship to technology that has now vanished—one that privileges user involvement over convenience.

In his book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work, from 2009, the political philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Matthew B. Crawford argues that manual competence—our ability to repair the machines and devices in our lives—is a kind of ethical practice. Knowing how to fix things ourselves creates opportunities for meaningful work and individual agency; it allows us to grasp more deeply the built world around us. Reminds me of the subtitle of Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: “An Inquiry Into Values”.

As the sandwich board says: The End Is Near!

Structured Procrastination:

When you do other less important tasks rather than the work you're supposed to be doing.

Corollary: Procrastihate: When you really dislike not doing the important task you'd rather not do.

Later and Getting Later Still

I need to get more serious about packing for Pie Town. But then again the longer I wait the sooner I will return so what's the point of taking so much stuff with me? Growth removal need is unknown at this point. Awaiting biopsy results. If that is positive then “How soon can I get an appointment” becomes the next factor. A week? I'll wait for. A month? I may as well get to Pie Town and then drive truck back for a day trip later. Or maybe just wait until Octvember. For now I'm still in Paul's back yard, feeding his cats and birds and spending a few hours one day a week at the Buckeye Food Bank fixing things and filling up on junk food.

Happy Mother's Day to All My Other Mothers

Even downer poems deserve publication and circulation and so there is this from one of my early correspondents when I was in McMurdo, when my first mother was headed down this same road:

Mother/Daughter, [c.1995], Barbara (a.k.a. Peabody)

Because I said good bye a year ago
when the stroke took her mind

It wasn't like she died
when the nursing home woman said,
"Who shall we call to pick up your mother?"
And I didn't cry as I tried to remember the name of the mortuary
that Mr. Hoge had been buried from years before
because it was close
and logical to send the body there.

It wasn't like she died
when I stood in the nursing home lounge
thinking who to call first
with the news
while the television blared out The Dating Game
because so many residents
were hard of hearing.

Stood there
with sweat still trickling between my breasts
because my sister had run up to me in the middle of a volley
and told me the news

Stood there
in a tennis dress
feeling like a gangly school girl
in a too-short dress from three grades before.

It wasn't like she died
when I walked down the grey tile corridor to her room one last time
smelling church altar flowers put to final use on bedside stands,
stale urine,
institution food,
and old-people clothes,
musty smelling like moth balls for disintegrating bodies.

It wasn't like she died
even when I saw the almost bald head
propped up against a pillow
for one last  spoon feeding of Cream of Wheat and ice cream supper,
mouth still open in surprise,
or to say good bye,
or for just one last mouthful before leaving.

And so I sat in the wheel chair next to the bed
where she had wet once right through the chair
splashing onto the gray tile while I watched
and thought how we'd have to diaper her now
as she once diapered us,
and held her weightless sparrow-claw hand
already ice-hard like a winter twig stripped of leaves and sap.

Sat there
and accepted the body like a communion wafer--
dry and tasteless--
saved on the roof of my mouth while trying to remember
if I had done anything pleasurable enough to warrant forgiveness.
And tried to feel bad,
but felt only the coolness of drying sweat.

Barbara, a.k.a (Peabody)

Bronze Plaque for Bill PenningtonMonday-Monday..., 20 May

Did I tell you about how a backfire blew out TinyTruck's muffler? Sounded burbley mellow for a week or so then took an infu$ion of copiou$ ca$h at the muffler shop where I also discovered a very soft left rear tyre. Visited the tyre store on my way back to Tonopah and inspection revealed the spare was also flat and all the running rubber is a few thirty-seconds away from overdue for replacement. New tyres will have to wait for november at least. All my cash is tied up in that plaque for Bill P. The bronze plaque will be placed at El Dorado Hot Spring in Tonopah where Bill, along with his partner Camilla Van Sickle, founded the hot spring in 1997. To be a part of this celebration write me for details. Eddress in the footer. You can also still donate to the cost of this plaque.

My three biopsy results are positive.  I have three new spots on my back that must be excised, burned off with liquid nitrogen... Appointment for that treatment made for 3rd June so my departure from Tonopah is delayed for at least another fortnight.

Escape the Stupidity

Although it will be years before the first humans set foot on Mars, NASA is giving the public an opportunity to send their names — stenciled on chips (micro chips, not taco chips) — to the Red Planet with NASA's Mars 2020 rover, which represents the initial leg of humanity’s first round trip to another planet. The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021. Contact NASA to have your name recorded for delivery to Mars. I've got a window seat.

Memorializing ImMorality

“The United States has been at war [even though many of those conflicts were never declared as such] every day since its founding, often covertly and often in several parts of the world at once.” (Utne Reader Spring 2019, pp31)

IMHO it is one thing to be conscripted into such immorality and quite another thing to volunteer for the gory glory and financial reward provided by a greedy government on behalf of a brainwashed citizenry—providing you survive of course. By the time my sister-son finished high school he was already the property of the U.S.Army. Went from graduation ceremony to induction ceremony with not much time for second guessing. His rational: If he survived being "over there" his education was paid for; if he didn't survive being "over there" then the education of his kids was paid for. He figured he had a better chance of coming out ahead in the army than if he stayed home, worked two jobs, and commuted to night school. So far he's winning. But I still feel: If we really supported the troops we wouldn't send them  to far-away places to fight other peoples' meaningless wars based on lies; especially when there is so much need right here at home for that money and agency. I feel that honouring and memorializing those who were conscripted into participating in a so-called “just war” is a right thing to do, however honouring and memorializing those who volunteer to take part in the lies and the killing denigrates and debases the sacrifice of the conscripted. How do I tell one from the other?

June Again, Almost Summer

Almost time for the Summer Solstice edition of Oso con Migo's Travails Letter. We: Oso, Zachary, Hurricane Hazel-Rah, and me, correspond with a cohort of some 80 Humans who live on the other side of The Wall. That's one of the reasons I don't have much time to wash the dishes and go for walks. Another issue sweeping this cohort is a ban on mailing labels. TeXas is leading the way. Some places just RTS my letters with no explanation: “Refused—Unable To Forward”. Others rubber stamp the unopened envelope:

Refused—All envelopes must be white in color. No labels, No stickers. No stains.
No lipstick. No Crayon. No glitter. No marker. No Homemade Greeting Cards.

I can see them disallowing Homemade Greeting Cards. Who knows which among the greeting card companies is a corporate sponsor of the commercial for profit prison system; but I don't understand why No Labels. Why no labels—not even address labels—but self-stick U.S. Postage Stamps are O.K.? So I've been teaching my printer to print database addy info directly on the #10 envelopes. And I've been folding Zachary's B'Day Cards in thirds rather than in quarters. And writing across the top: “This Is A Letter”. His 2020 edition will likely formalise that somehow. B'day Letter rather than B'day Card. Perhaps with dotted lines labeled reFold Here to create your own card.

The Ides of June & Almost Solstice

My early saturday morning departure from Tonopah to Pie Town (...finally...) was late as usual with forgets and do-overs. At least this time I remembered to stow the sugar bowl. By then the traffic was piling up, even for a saturday morning, so I took the 101 loop around Phoenix. Parts of that drive were new to me so that was nice. Hectic drive tho not as bad as the Construction Zone downtown. Navigational debate between Mr Magellan and Ms Android. Mr Magellan does not know 101 has been completed from i17 east and south to Mesa. He was very confused when The Cat Drag'd Inn barreled along through fences and across fields on roads only Ms Android knew about.

As the morning wore on the temperature rose. Every little hill-climb on the road to Payson on the Mogollon Rim the temperature would drop a few degrees but just as fast the heat would chase up behind me. Somewhere along the way I turned on the radiator water spray. Eventually the altitude won out over the valley and the last few hours along the Rim to Show Low were an easy drive. The ambient temperature decreases by about three Fahrenheit Degrees and the barometric pressure decreases by about one inch of mercury per thousand feet of altitude gained. The 15-20f degree lower ambient temperature between Mesa and Payson makes the difference between main engine overheat or running cool. My tea water at Tonopah's 1100ft MSL boils at 210 ºF. At Pie Town's 7500ft MSL that same water boils at 198 ºF. 

On to Pie Town. About 50 miles to second breakfast at the Pie Town Café. Driving through the notch in the dike, round the last bend before the short climb to the center of town, a totally new sight surprised my eyes. A tripod! Four hundred and some feet tall, right across from the Pie Town Café. The three books of the Tripods series, immediately came to mind. Written by John Christopher in the late 1960's, tell of an Earth conquered by three-legged beings which according one then current theory were once machines made by men.... the Tripods reduce mankind to a state of servitude. See more of this storey in my letter ajo01c.htm near the bottom and 25 episodes of the BBC scifi drama based on the books. I learned later this tripod, newly arrived in Pie Town, is called the "Pieffel Tower".

Arrived Pie Town via the middle way. Escaped the first of the Excessive Heat Warnings just in time for the last of the Winter Storm Warnings of the higher elevations. Usually this migration takes me a fortnight of climbing slowly through 6,500 feet of elevation. Acclimatise is the keyword. Ample time is required to open and close more than once the various containers of condiments and comestibles to avoid surprises of rapid decompression.

Beyond Summer Solstice

Sol has turned south. Already the days are getting shorter. The Lost Package of Books has yet to be found.

New Year's Resolutions Censored

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.child pointing

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2019, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.