May 2010 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


May, we hardly knew ye….  Seriously.  I guess we’ll just call this the Late May Issue, eh, kids?  I’d call it the June Issue, but there are people out there paying by the month to read this on Kindles and Nooks and iPhones and iPads and iLord-knows-what other satanic devices, and I don’t want to upset Steve Jobs, ’cause he’s already nuts enough.  Anyway, there will also be a June issue sometime before July. Honest.

There is, however, a case to be made for not updating this site at all, ever. I have come to the reluctant conclusion that it is, in fact, my frantic attempt to stick to something resembling a monthly schedule that has actually caused a recent series of disasters around here. It started a few years ago when I took a break from formatting this site to go downstairs and install a window air conditioner and was promptly struck by lightning. Then, just a few weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch in my office, again working on this site, when a sudden windstorm knocked half a large tree into the side of the house, missing the window behind me by about six inches. In late May I took a break from finalizing this issue to mow the lawn, and the mowing deck on the tractor went kafloozie, necessitating my spending several days on my face in the driveway trying to fix the damn thing, which isn’t fun when you have only limited use of your left arm and you really need said left arm to pull an idler pulley against a big spring so you can get the goddamn drive belt back on the deck. I ended up wrapping a steel cable around the pulley and getting Kathy to stand ten feet away and pull on it real hard. That was a separate ordeal, incidentally, from the day I spent unwinding the steel cable from the blades last month. Then the guy from DirecTV showed up to replace the satellite dish and turned out to be a major jerk who glared at us silently while he bent our brand-new gutters. Then the basement flooded and I had to stay up all night pumping it out through a garden hose. Then the well pump died on a Friday afternoon, and by the time we got it replaced we were (a) very thirsty and (b) in the hole for $1100 just to get back to where we’d been 36 hours earlier. And that appears to be the theme around here: even the most modest status quo cannot hold. If we could box and market high-speed entropy, we’d be rich, but we can’t and thus aren’t, so please subscribe.

In moments of reflection, which I do my best to avoid, Kathy and I often pine for our old fourth-floor walk-up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, an insanely cheap (at that time) duplex with a terrace, half a block from Central Park. She came up with a good, if very depressing, analogy a few days ago. Living in this 1860s house with all this land is like being responsible for the physical state (wiring, plumbing, roof, etc.) of our entire old apartment building plus being charged with the grooming of a sizable chunk of Central Park, trees and shrubs included. It’s nuts. No one without pots of money and a full-time lawn crew could manage it properly.

But hey, we now have a bunch of deer living in the big thicket of brush down by the road. I sit out on the front porch in the morning and wave at them. And I know where the chipmunks’ burrows are and where the snakes live. It’s just like the Upper West Side, except that all the people are wearing fur suits. Or feathers.  Or scales.

Lastly, thanks as always, for your financial support of this site, and a special my-jaw-dropped thanks to whoever sent me the nifty Acer netbook.  It is truly awesome and very useful.  In fact, I plan to use it to update this site next time, from a coffee shop safely miles away from here at Disaster Central.

p.s. — It came with Windows XP installed, but I set it up to dual boot with Ubuntu Linux Netbook Edition, and it’s truly a thing of beauty.

And now, on with the show….

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