1.26.2023 – sugar cinnamon

sugar cinnamon
cayenne red pepper
on toast
mistake this morning

According to quoteinvestigator.com, The 1662 edition of “The history of the worthies of England” by Thomas Fuller attributed King James as saying, “he was a very valiant man, who first adventured on eating of Oysters; most probably meer hunger put men first on that tryal.”

I had something new for breakfast today.

Not oysters.

And not by choice.

My coffee and two as in two slices of toast was new by mistake.

And when I say mistake, I truly mean mis take as I mis took the wrong spice from the kitchen cupboard to spinkle on my toast.

I know what you are saying.

And if you aren’t saying it, you are thinking it.

Didn’t I notice the color?

Didn’t I notice the smell?

CAN’T YOU READ for cry’n out loud?

All good questions and all suppose a level of awareness in the morning that I rarely achieve nowadays until about noon or later.

I think I was a very valiant man if maybe not the first to try cayenne red pepper on toast.

I may not be the last.

But it was the only time for me.

At least, so I hope.

1.25.2023 – President has more

President has more
absolute executive powers
than any ruler

The important words that I could not hammer into place in this haiku are, “… in theory.”

Today’s haiku was adapted from a paragraph in Nelson’s History of the War (Vol. IX) (Thomas Nelson, London,  1915) by John Buchan where Mr. Buchan worked towards explaining The American Philosophy of Politics on the chapter titled, THE STRAINING OF AMERICAN PATIENCE.

(GOSH, 9 Volumes already published as of 1915 and three more years of war to go? BTW, it does run to 24 volumes all together!)

Mr. Buchan wrote:

These reasons decided public opinion, and, since in America public opinion is the true sovereign, President Wilson was loyal to his master.

The President of the United States has in theory more absolute executive powers than any ruler in the world.

But he is bound to an unseen chariot wheel.

He dare not outrun the wishes of the majority of the citizens.

His pace is as fast as theirs, but no faster, or he courts a fall.

A true democracy is a docile follower of a leader whom it has once trusted.

But an incomplete democracy such as America demands not a leader but a fellow-wayfarer who can act as spokesman.

Hence it was idle to talk of President Wilson’s policy as if it were the conclusions and deeds of an individual.

It was his business to interpret the opinion of America at large, and there is no reason to believe that he erred in this duty.

I have heard this explained more than once, in more than one book, in more than one lecture, by more than one writer or Professor.

The most important job any President has is to EDUCATE THE PEOPLE, one of favorite Professors pounded into my brain.

Once educated, the people will understand what the President means to do.

Once the people understand that, they will also support what the President means to do.

Search on YOU TUBE for FDR’s fireside chat on February 23, 1942.

The White House would ask the Newspapers to print a World Map so that listeners could follow along with the President as he traced around the world and focused on trouble spots and where American military forces were in action.

I always thought to myself, can it be this simple?

How can it be this simple?

How can it be this simple and still almost impossible to do?

How can it be this simple and still almost impossible to do today?

Then I re-read that paragraph I quoted today.

There is that one word in there.

The word at the end of this sentence.

A true democracy is a docile follower of a leader whom it has once trusted.



So simple.

And I do love that line that reads, “But an incomplete democracy such as America demands not a leader but a fellow-wayfarer who can act as spokesman.

I have been watching these reports of everyone taking Top Secret documents home as home work, I guess, and I see that these folks look to live in some really nice homes.

Not like much anything like most of my fellow-wayfarers get to live in, but I digress.

1.24.2023 – there is another

there is another
sky ever serene fair and
another sunshine

Based on the sonnet, There is another sky, by Emily Dickinson

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

If I am honest, I have to ask the question, did I like the sonnet or did I go looking for something that I could use with a picture from my lunchtime walk to show off that I walk along the ocean at lunch time.

I think we all know the answer.

I just happen to like Ms. Dickinson …

1.23.2023 language certainly

language certainly
infelicitous surely
makes its purpose clear

I had to look infelicitous up.

I had to look infelicitous up, but I really really like the word.

Notice is that the word looks to be very close to inflection or the modulation of intonation or pitch in the voice, but the word is infelicitous.

It is an adjective that means unfortunate or inappropriate.

As in the sentence I read today that started; While the language is certainly infelicitousthe historical context makes its purpose clear.

The best part of the sentence is that part where I substituted the ellipsis.

The entirety of the sentence as used in the opinion piece, The Constitution Has a 155-Year-Old Answer to the Debt Ceiling, by Mr. Eric Foner, is:

While the language is certainly infelicitous (surely Congress could have found better wording than declaring it illegal to “question” the validity of the national debt), the historical context makes its purpose clear.

I have to admire any optimist.

And anyone who feels that surely, Congress could have found better wording.


Our Congress?

The Congress of the United States?

Surely, The Congress of the United States could have found better wording rather than using wording that was unfortunate or inappropriate?

That, dear reader, it what I call optimism.

Not wanting to be infelicitous but I am reminded of Sir Humphrey Appleby when he said, ” … the traditional allocation of executive responsibilities has always been so determined as to liberate the ministerial incumbent from the administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial functions to those whose experience and qualifications have better formed them for the performance of such humble offices, thereby releasing their political overlords for the more onerous duties and profound deliberations which are the inevitable concomitant of their exalted position.”

Infelicitous my butt.

1.22.2023 – prodigious number

prodigious number
people hanged by no means bad
time for criminals

Inspired by:

In spite of the prodigious number of people who managed to get hanged, the fifteenth century was by no means a bad time for criminals.

A great confusion of parties and great dust of fighting favoured the escape of private housebreakers and quiet fellows who stole ducks in Paris Moat.

Prisons were leaky; and as we shall see, a man with a few crowns in his pocket and perhaps some acquaintance among the officials, could easily slip out and become once more a free marauder.

As it appears in the 1926 title, The Book of The Rogue by Joseph Lewis French.

According to the Wikipedia, Joseph Lewis French. (1858–1936) was a novelist, editor, poet and newspaper man. The New York Times noted in 1925 that he may be “the most industrious anthologist of his time.”[2] He is known for his popular themed collections, and published more than twenty-five books between 1918 and his death in 1936. He initiated two magazines, The New West (c. 1887) and The Wave (c. 1890). Afterward he worked for newspapers “across the country” contributing poetry and articles. He struggled financially, and during 1927 the New York Graphic, a daily tabloid, published an autobiographical article they convinced him to write, entitled “I’m Starving – Yet I’m in Who’s Who as the Author of 27 Famous Books.”

The New York Times reports in his obit that Mr. French “insisted that the actual rewards of authorship were few.”

I have reproduced his obit here.

In his book of collected stories on pirates, Great Pirate Stories, Mr. French wrote:

It was a bold hardy world—this of ours—up to the advent of our giant-servant, Steam,—every foot of which was won by fierce conquest of one sort or another.

Out of this past the pirate emerges as a romantic, even at times heroic, figure.

This final niche, despite his crimes, cannot altogether be denied him.

A hero he is and will remain so long as tales of the sea are told.

So, have at him, in these pages!

A hero he is and will remain so long as tales of the sea are told

1.21.2023 – see taste touch smell hear

see taste touch smell hear
Saturday morning traveling
magic world wide web

I traveled to the town of Market Harborough, near Great Oxendon, this morning and fell for a place named The George.

The George bills itself as A former 16th century inn set in the beautiful surroundings of South Leicestershire.

The George features a traditional village bar and a large patio area to while away your days in the rolling Northamptonshire countryside.

It is, they say, “A place to eat, drink and sleep.

The George offers an Auberge Supper, which I think means supper in the style of an inn or small hotel in France where three days a week, lunchtime and evening, we will surprise you with a different tempting 3 course meal. The Auberge Supper is always full of flavours and at a fantastic price.

The George offers afternoon tea where you can “Treat yourself and your friends to afternoon tea at The George. Homemade sandwiches, scones and cakes are served on the patio or in the dining room overlooking the garden. Indulge in a selection of teas or a glass of champagne.

The bar at the George lets you, “Enjoy a handcrafted real ale or a chilled white wine in our cosy bar. An extensive drinks menu hand-picked from around the world, there is no excuse not to stop in and relax.”

The Sunday Lunch at the George is “Served midday till 3pm every Sunday, you will always find the finest Roast Sirloin of Beef.”

I clicked on an online link for the place and managed to spend a half hour on their website.

I looked at the all the pictures.

I read all the menus.

I could see it.

The photos showed a clean, well lighted place (to steal from Mr. Hemingway).

I could taste it.

Scones, cakes, a glass of champagne, finest roast sirloin of beef.

I could feel it.

I could sense the polished wood and the weight of the crockery.

I could smell it.

The smell of an old bar, of whisky’s and beers and the smell of the kitchen and again the roast meats.

I could hear it.

The clack of crockery and china. Chairs sliding on a wood floor.

It all looked so … civilized.

Far from the maddening crowd.

It is where a warm welcome will always await you.

There was a jingle when I was kid that went, “Let you fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages.”

I let my mind do my traveling on the world wide web.

I had never heard of Market Harborough or Great Oxendon.

Not quite sure I know where they are.

I feel like I have been there, at the least to The George.

I never left my chair.

Sometimes, better than being there.

1.20.2023 – inefficiencies

stress fatigue impossible

As you knew, today’s haiku is based on an a newspaper article about the restaurant industry.

In the guest opinion essay, “Foodie Fever Dreams Can’t Keep Restaurants Afloat” by Vivian Howard, a chef and restaurateur, is the author of two cookbooks and the host of the PBS series “A Chef’s Life” and “Somewhere South.”

Ms. Howard writes:

Even so, Chef & the Farmer closed, in large part because the inefficiencies, stress and fatigue brought by an unsustainable business model became impossible to ignore. Our industry needs to evolve or else more full-service, cuisine-driven restaurants like mine will languish their way to extinction.

About being in the restaurant business, she write: “…perhaps why you so rarely hear a parent say: “You should get into the restaurant business. It looks like a nice life.

As Anthony Bourdain once said, “I mean, I admire anyone who wants to cook and knowingly enters the field.

It’s a hard thing.

But, you know, look before you leap.

Because I’ve seen that so many times, kids coming out of cooking school and working in my kitchens, and literally two weeks in, you see it.

You look behind the line, and you can just see the dream die.

This terrible information sinking in, like, “Oh my God, this is nothing like they told me it was going to be.”

And I am thinking of going out to dinner tonight.

At least, as of right now.

I think I need a job that pays you to be on the beach.

Maybe the one I have that lets me on the beach at lunchtime is good enough.

But consider the beach.

Twice a day the tide comes in and wipes it clean.

Completely and efficiently.

No fatugue.

No stress.

Though I am sure that if I had the job to clean sweep the beach twice a day, I would make a mess of it and I would languish on my way to extinction.

1.19.2023 – extremely online

extremely online
insulted as efficiently
as is possible

Extremely Online.

A condition where social media compels us to read thinly, strip out all context and get to the part where we can be insulted as efficiently as possible.

So writes New York Times Opinion Columnist, Tressie McMillan Cottom, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, in her piece, The Enduring, Invisible Power of Blond.

The line in question reads, “I knew a lot of the anger had to do with my critics being Extremely Online, a condition where social media compels us to read thinly, strip out all context and get to the part where we can be insulted as efficiently as possible.

The ability, no, the desire of some folks to read thinly and strip out all context and get to the part where we can be insulted as efficiently as possible.

I come back to that old saying, why going looking for trouble.

Besides, if you go looking for trouble, trouble will find you.

Which in a way I think is really funny when I try to put that into context with news and social media and trouble.

Back in the news business we had endless discussions that folks no longer had to seek out news, they did not have watch TV news, listen to radio news or buy a newspaper.

With social media, the news someone wanted to hear, the paradigm went, now found them.

News, like trouble, finds you.

And the part of the news that interest us the most is the part that we are insulted.

And being extremely online compels us to read thinly, strip out all context and get to the part where we can be insulted as efficiently as possible

OH the wonderful power of social media,

1.18.2023 – sun shone, salt glittered

sun shone salt glittered
like tinsel the wind tousled
the sea prettily

Adapted from:

Prepared for a slice of heroic adventure, they found themselves in the middle of a floating vicarage garden fete .

The sun shone.

The salt in the air glittered like tinsel In the enclosed water of the Solent, the stiffish southerly wind did no more than prettily tousle the sea.

Though I had made an important fuss of laying compass courses on the chart and calculating tidal streams, there was no navigation, since everyone could see exactly where everywhere was.

There was no solitude, either.

There was hardly any room at all in which to move.

From the book Coasting by Jonathan Raban

Jonathan Raban, the British travel writer, critic and novelist known for his candid accounts of travelling the world in books such as Passage to Juneau and Coasting, has died aged 80, his agent has confirmed.

1.17.2023 – these illusory

these illusory
and ridiculous promises
never understood

My feeling that writers who write about economics get to use the best multisyllable words was reinforced by the NY Times opinion piece, The Crypto Collapse and the End of the Magical Thinking That Infected Capitalism, by Mihir A. Desai, a professor at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.

Mr. Desai gets to use wonderful $5 words when he writes:

Pervasive consumer-facing technology allowed individuals to believe that the latest platform company or arrogant tech entrepreneur could change everything. Anger after the 2008 global financial crisis created a receptivity to radical economic solutions, and disappointment with traditional politics displaced social ambitions onto the world of commerce. The hothouse of Covid’s peaks turbocharged all these impulses as we sat bored in front of screens, fueled by seemingly free money.

For me, this opinion piece was summed up in two sentences.

The first, These illusory and ridiculous promises share a common anti-establishment sentiment fueled by a technology that most of us never understood. Who needs governments, banks, the traditional internet or homespun wisdom when we can operate above and beyond?

Not only does it explain, for me the bitcoin fixation but most of the aspects of the covid era.

What I found fascinating was that Mr. Desai linked two worlds together for me.

There is this group, right, that for the most part, boiled down to its essence DOES NOT TRUST GOVERNMENT.

Vaccines, elections, gun rights and border control.

This group does not trust the government and wants the government out of their lives.

Who are these people?

As Mr. Desai pointed out, they are ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT.

They are the 1960’s HIPPIES come to life as 2020’s conservatives.

And at their core, just like the hippies, they are against everything.

As Brando said when asked, “ Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?“, replied, “Whadda you got?

Who needs governments, banks, the traditional internet or homespun wisdom when we can operate above and beyond?

And really what do these people want to accomplish?

Don’t ask me.

these illusory
and ridiculous promises
never understood

Not only did Mr. Desai explain identify this New Hippie Era to me, he also explained the mystery of cyber currency for me.

Mr. Desai writes, “Speculative assets without any economic function should be worth nothing.”

I feel that way and I am not a professor at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.

May I paraphrase and say, something without value is should be worth nothing!


What to do?

Of late James Garner’s tag line from that goofy old western, Support Your Local Sherriff, keeps coming to mind.


I am just passing through on my way to Australia.

these illusory
and ridiculous promises
never understood