Monthly Archives: September 2014

good reports

I’m getting good reports from home . Well , I’m not getting any bad reports ; I guess that’s not at all necessarily  the same thing . Ada and I have been in Europe for a bit over three months now and we are soon to return to the United States .old car in desert


I’ve been monitoring the daily temperatures over there in southern California . Too hot . I wish that someone would turn the dial down a few degrees before we get back . All summer the temps  have been consistently in the nineties ( F ) . I have to use the ( F ) due to the ( C ) competition over here . We won’t bother to discuss ( K ) . Yesterday Arcadia was 101 degrees (F) . Too hot .

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I’m wondering about my plants . I wonder if the woman staying in our house has been watering the fruit trees . How about the Asian apple tree out in what Ada’s mom called , and now Ada and I  call , the piggy barn ?  No piggies .  Just some of my stuff , some tools , a compost bin , and ( I hope ) an Asian apple tree hanging on to dear life through all the hot months .

I’ll be surprised if the piggy barn tree made it . I expect some other casualties , too , despite the rosy reports from the waterer-in-residence .  I wonder if the small apricot tree I planted a year or so ago made it . It’s in the back of the yard behind the orange tree . It hasn’t had time to mature , perhaps, to establish a root system that will ensure it’s survival in the face of harsh treatment from the world .

Oh , well .


I hope that Ada’s roses made it , too . Most likely they have . They’ve been slogging it out every hot summer and they know a thing or two about survival .

The woman staying in our house said that she likes watering . She’s reluctant to water too much during our extended drought , she said ; but she is a gardener , I guess . I hope . It’ll be alright .


One way or another , it’s too late now . Oh well . We’ll hope for the best .welcome to california


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ENGLAND sept 2014 016I  was teasing Ada in July about the extensive bike lanes built all over the city but there were few bikes . Well , it’s good to plan for the future . But not many bikes so far .


Then , one day , hundreds of green bikes appeared out of nowhere , like mushrooms suddenly sprouted  in the forest .  Oh !  O.K. , that’s the plan . City ( Szczecin, Poland ) residents can register to use the bikes , put 20 zloty down ( about $6. 60 ) and go . There are stations all over the city where the bikes can be got and returned . People are beginning to use them , too . The city is changing .ENGLAND sept 2014 018 ENGLAND sept 2014 017 Ala skateboarding Poland 2014 021

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fountains abbey

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park is near Harrogate , U.K. , part of the National Trust .

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gone berserk

I  think it would be a great sign to put in the window of a small business : GONE BERSERK . Maybe with one of those cardboard clocks indicating a return time . I was talking to my Danish friend Ivan yesterday . I mentioned Ivan in a recent post —– the guy who bad-mouths the Irish , most likely , in my opinion , because his Viking  ancestor sailed his  longboat back to Scandinavia rather than stay  in Ireland as some of the other guys did . Missed his chance . Sour grapes , Ivan .viking boats Anyway. Ivan wants me to check out an antiquarian book convention in Pasadena for him .My friend Ivan ” You might find some images of those chimneys ,” he suggested . ” What was it you were interested in ?” ” Backyard incinerators . ” ” You’d be surprised what these guys might have,” he said . Ivan is a book dealer .  ” I’d like to find images of  Amanita mushrooms . The ones the Vikings used before they went on their crazy raids . “mushrooms 2 I’d never heard of Amanita mushrooms , a poisonous little white toadstool with red spots . ” That’s how Santa Claus got his hat , ” he said . Ivan speaks with authority . I’ve  since read  some theories about how those reindeer could work themselves  up enough to fly that sleigh all over the earth ………… Turns out there were Norse warriors who fought in an almost uncontrollable frenzy while wearing wolf pelts . They’re called Berserkers .   Some people have speculated throughout history that the frenzied , trance-like state , was a result of  ingesting the Amanita mushroom as a hallucinogenic . The Anglo-Saxons across the sea in Britain , busy collecting the extortion money , the Danegeld , to buy off the Viking raiders , described the craziness as ” gone berserk ” .statue dane seafaring nations The Berserkers are mentioned in old Norse sagas .  They were sometimes referred to as Odin’s Warriors . But , it is unclear just how they worked themselves into their frenzied rage .  The hallucinogenic mushroom theory didn’t , apparently , come around until a Swedish professor , Sam Odmann , proposed it in 1784. Yeah ,  Odmann . But , given the historical rivalry between the Swedes and the Danes , I  don’t have much confidence in this theory , despite my friend Ivan’s certainty .  Could it have been, rather , a result  of  a religious-type trance ? Maybe it was  a consequence of too much Tuborg ? Too many bottles of  Carlsberg ?  O.K. , maybe I got my centuries mixed up . I may look for images of Ivan’s favorite mushroom when I go to the book event . I’ll ask the dealers for “death caps” or “destroying angels”  and see what happens . One of those antiquarians may know about Amanita muscaria , which was powdered and mixed with milk and used as an insecticide . All exciting stuff .   To someone . To Vikings .mushroom


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the passing generation

The generations pass away , but wars don’t .
army uso dance
airplane  Valiant with star airplane noses airplane paint star army servicemens club dance SOLDIER ON GUARD WWII U.S. TROOPS JAPANESE DUGOUT jeep in desert Tank commander in tank Amer. pineapple , the kind the Axis finds hard to digest.

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successful mushroom hunt

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mushroom hunting

mushrooms , etc. 006Mushroom hunting is not for the sqeamish . It helps , of course , if you have a Polish soul .Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 106

I don’t have a Polish soul , but I did go hunting again a few days ago with Ada and the mushroom-whisperer Waldek .  The three of us hunted for chanterelles a couple of months ago and found plenty of those . Waldek knows the good places .

I went mushroom hunting in Poland for the first and only previous time several years ago .  The others in the group were filling plastic buckets and bags with their finds as they cris-crossed the woods , shouting to one another every so often . I was looking , not sure what I was looking for . I found one specimen , though , eventually .

At the end of the day I had my one and they had tons of them , different varieties . They oohed and awed one another’s mushrooms . Ah , that’s a great one !  Ooh , look at that one !  I got some generous praise for finding my one little one ; and then I was told that , well , it was inedible . Sorry about that . Better luck next time .

This summer was the next mushroom hunting adventure for me  . A couple of months ago Ada and I went out to the forest with Waldek .  Waldek knows just where to go . We were hunting chanterelles , since it was too early for other kinds . We found some , too , lots of them . Waldek has secret places to go . I suspect  that  he considered blindfolding Ada and I for the journey out there , but then decided that over in America we wouldn’t be much of a threat to the secrecy of the operation . In the forest , however , he walked us around in circles , I think , and he moved quickly here , and there , so that after a few minutes we had no idea of directions or where in the heck we were . He could have , at any point , abandoned us out there in the trees , and we’d still be wandering around those Polish woods , Ada and I , hopelessly lost .

Last week the three of us went out again .  We checked four or five secret spots with fabulous success. Ada and Waldek  filled up their large baskets in no time . I filled up two plastic sacks . I hadn’t , to be honest , expected to find many mushrooms .  We found a few more plastic sacks in Waldek’s car and we filled those up , too , lickety-split  .

Ada decided to use her coat as a sack , after all of the other containers were full . We were finding mushrooms everywhere . Waldek was ready to go on . One more spot to check !  But Ada and I were done .  Now we had our hands full , too . No more space for any more mushrooms .   ” Just keep the small ones now “, she told me .  Had we had more sacks or baskets we’d have gone on . We might still be out there wandering around : ” Found one ! This is a good one ! “Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 069




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