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Today’s Potomac Death Scull proceedings:

There were times back in the day when I had visions of the same thing happening to my boat.  (Not with me in it, of course.)  Actually, there where times when I thought the same thing HAD happened to my boat WITH me in it.

I can only hope Mr. FLG remembered to duck and cover.

wrangler-four-doorA thought that I’ve had from time to time over the past year or two again found its way into my braims as I was driving home last evening:  Those four-door Jeep Wrangler rag-tops look pretty durn cool.

Not that I’m complaining about my two-door, mind you.  But all that extra room….all those extra pieces of canvas with which to fiddle….all that “Hey, Hummer Boy! How are those hair plugs working out for you?” sense of superiority…….

It gets one thinking, you know?

Plus, my 2003, which is all bought and paid for, only has 30K miles on her.  Between that and the awful state of the industry, I would think Chrysler would practically pay me to make the switch.

As I say, just a thought……..

charlie-brown-rain1 It was a long-standing joke in my family to refer to my father as “Dr. Drought” because it seemed that wherever he lived the rains would dry up.

So far in this my first season of coaching softball, two out of five of my practices have been rained out.   We’re scheduled to practice tomorrow and Sunday and we also have a special league-wide clinic to attend Saturday afternoon.

The current updated forecast?

Thursday – 90% 100% chance of rain!

Saturday – 70% chance of rain thunderstorms!

Sunday – 50% chance of rain.

You may all start referring to me as “Mr. Monsoon”.


(Image swiped from Wikipedia.)

Having lived in and near it for many years, I of course knew something already of the Great Appalachian Valley, especially in its Virginia manifestations.

But it was only as I read John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World last evening that it finally dawned on me that what I knew was just a part of the whole, and that the Valley actually stretches from Canada to Alabama.  I had always assumed previously that the Champlain Valley, the Mohawk Valley and the Hudson Valley were glacial events, not part of the original folding and ridging of the area caused by ancient plate tectonics, but no – they’re all the result of the same primordial phenomenon as the Shenandoah, the Roanoke, the New River and the Tennessee.

This is the sort of discovery that makes me want to crawl into bed with all the lights on and pull all the covers over my head.

I am also slowly trying to grasp and come to terms with the whole concept of geological time, which from what I can tell seems to have a tendency to drive geologists mad after a while.  McPhee uses various metaphors to try and capture it.  One is to stand with your arms stretched out and imagine this as the timeline of the Earth.  Going from left to right, life only starts to appear about the middle of your right palm, and Humanity only pops up on the outer edge of the nail on your right-hand middle finger.


Now certainly the point about our fleeting presence on Earth is indisputable.  A lot of people, I believe, go on to use this as an argument against God and against our special relationship with Him.  How can it be so if we are such a comparative blip on the scene?

Me, I see it the other way around:  If God evidently has gone to that much trouble to fashion this globe and then stick us on it, all the more reason for reverence, awe and gratitude.

Mr. FLG’s recent post on the benefits of his education in French immediately brought to mind this passage from Right Ho, Jeeves

“Possibly the plan I suggested might be open to that criticism, Sir, but faute de mieux -“

“I don’t get you, Jeeves.”

“A French expression, Sir, signifying ‘for want of anything better’.”

A moment before, I had been feeling for this wreck of a once fine thinker nothing but a tender pity.  These words jarred the Wooster pride, inducing asperity.

“I understand perfectly well what faute de mieux means, Jeeves.  I did not recently spend two months among our Gallic neighbors for nothing.  Besides, I remember that one from school.  What caused my bewilderment was that you should be employing the expression, well knowing that there is no bally faute de mieux about it at all.   Where do you get that faute de mieux stuff?  Didn’t I tell you I had everything taped out?”

What with one thing and another, I never learned French myself, an admitted hole in my educational accomplishments that my mother says bars me from ever considering myself a real gentleman.

Instead, I spent much of my yoot in the happy pursuit of Latin.  Like Mr. FLG with his French, I believe that my English grammar benefitted profoundly from this study.

“Sure, Tom,” you are no doubt saying to your collective selves.  “But apart from that, what possible modern relevance can there be in learning a dead language?”

Well, in the first place, it makes this particular piece of film all the funnier:

Secondly,  I find it intensely amusing to roam up and down the hallways at the office these days, inscrutibly muttering, “Quis custodiet? Quis custodiet? Quis custodiet?”

UPDATE: Oh, I should mention that I also sometimes indulge myself by using my classical pronunciation in Mass – hard “c’s” and “v’s” pronounced like “w’s” and the like.  I do this mostly to spike the little old lady who usually sits next to me.  A cold and prissy type, I always imagine her as a kind of foul-tempered sister of Miss Marple, the sort who is constantly calling to complain that your cat has been in her nasturtiums again.   She has a very bad habit of galloping through the responses and singing the chants in a cold and superior manner with one eye cocked disapprovingly at everyone around her.  I’m hoping that one of these days my “adweniat” and my “woluntas” will provoke a reaction.


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March 2009