Friday, January 29, 2010


1)I am pleased ny blog attracts feedback from all round the world. Three days ago my comments upon.’Monumental Men’ attracted a response listing several sites giving more details. I’ve enjoyed exploring them. As I am continuing reading the book. Its narrative has now reached German soil and the men are searching for cultural artefacts are exploring salt-mines and castles. Ike went down a salt-mine with them.

2)One danger I can see with blogging is repetition. It’s like living with someone – the same anecdotes and tales. So if I do I seek your forgiveness and a shake of the head at Harvey having another rave. This morning’s news is new. American writer J.D.Salinger has died. And sea-fog is affecting Wellington airport. For weeks I’ve been bewailing the wind. It’s absence at present has consequences.

3) Time magazine has an article saying that the Arctic ice meltdown is more seruiously than scientists previously recognised. Whereas another group of scientists say that the glacier melt in the Himalayas is not as great as projected. It’s hard being a layman when the experts disagree. All I can vouch for is that January 2010 has had much sunshine than average and nearly twice as much rainfall.

4)Niece, Jenny, left yesterday. She's been a breath of fresh air for the last several days. I recall Mum ringing me up to tell me she'd been born 28 years ago.

5)Yesterday, recovering from the previous day’s fall – it rather shook me up – I watched two DVDs. Nostalgic trips both. The first was Buster Keaton’s ‘Steamboat Bill’ (1928). The storm scene which concluded the film saw the comedian’s acrobatic and comic skills at their best. Silent movie at its best. The scene where a massive house wall collapsed on him and he emerged unscathed because of an open window I'd seen in clips - in context superb. No double, just split second timing. His heroines were more active than Chaplin’s. The other was ‘The Cruel Sea’ (1953). It’s dated but still a gritty portrayal of the British navy’s escort duties through the u-boat packs.

6)As a serious young man I read Augustine, Plato. Machiavelli and John Stuart Mill. My understanding was not as great as my intent. The individual trees attracted my attention rather than the whole big forest. One question posed by Augustine intrigued me, ‘what is time?’ His answer ‘I know not’ has never been trumped. Measured yes, the same impulse that drove ancient civilizations to measure distance made them treat time the same way. Three of our measures are natural – the day, the earth’s rotation, the month, the moon’s cycle, the year, the planet’s orbit – the rest are of our devising. Down the ages our species worked to cut time into chunks in an attempt to control it, sundail, clock, watch and carbon dating. We measure time now in detail. At my last visit to the Wellington tip – sorry, the southern landfill – five years ago, I was weighed and clocked in and out. I spent precisely 12 minutes 14 seconds there. Big brother’s watching as I dumped my rubbish. Augustine’s question lurks in that visit. The connection between the man who threw a cartoon of rose cuttings into the concrete trench and the man who a few minutes later paid for the use of the tip was his consciousness linking the two events. They were not simultaneous and the moment they were over they were gone, unrepeatable. Fascinating! Existence is a series of fleeting moments. In it we breathe, move and have our being.

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