Friday, September 30, 2005

Truman Capote (1924 – 1984)

The buzz about Truman Capote is in full swing as the the biographical movie Capote opens in NYC and LA today. Nice touch – today is also Capote’s birthday. Link here to the official Capote motion picture website. A bracing review of this film is already online! The Clog-Wife is a fan of Capote's work so I'm sure this will be a must-see for us.

Summer Crossing, an early unpublished novel the author claimed to have destroyed, is due to be published by Random House next month.

An attention span’s worth of information about Capote and many external links can be found in the Wikipedia entry.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

No Goose for Michaelmas

Sept 29: St. Michael and All Angels Day

"If you eat goose on Michaelmas Day, you'll not be short of money all year round" - English proverb.

I visited my grocer's. No goose for the traditional Michaelmas feast. No slain dragon either. Oh well, this is America, yeah? Didn't know about the Michaelmas goose? Read on and follow the links.

Few Americans celebrate September 29th, Michaelmas Day, in this country, at least by English standards. I find that the lore surrounding Michaelmas is extremely interesting and heartily recommend
this website for a look at historic traditions surrounding this feast day. Michaelmas is also a collar day in England, in which the Knights of Grand Cross wear the collars and ribands denoting their various affiliations and honours.

The first link above contains interesting and amusing information regarding Michaelmas traditions and things associated with the day: The Michaelmas Daisy, The Michaelmas Goose, Ganging Day and Taffy on a Goose, St. Michael's Bannock, and Electing the Lord Mayor of London.

Now hailing from High Springs, FL, a remarkable region where first-magnitude springs flowing from the surficial portions of the
Floridan Aquifer give birth to gin-clear spring runs and rivers, I am interested that Michael the Archangel was also credited with creating healing and medicinal springs, and that the Greeks celebrate the spring at Collosae on the Lycus River (present day Khonas, Turkey, where the springs are still enjoyed) on September 6, my own red-letter day and birthday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Terrorist Chefs Need Not Apply

You may want to consult the rules if you’re planning on entering a chili cook-off . The Clog Almanac bemusedly notes this fiery regulation governing events sponsored by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI):

G. PYROTECHNICS - No chili contestant may discharge firearms or use any pyrotechnics or explosives at a chili cookoff. Contestants discharging firearms and/or using explosives or other pyrotechnics will be disqualified from the chili cookoff.

Not that some contestant’s creations aren’t inherently explosive by their nature.
(Hat-tip to Dustbury)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blow Winds Blow

The Clog-wife found a nice graphic (with commentary and many links) that depicts the paths of tropical storms and hurricanes that have passed within 60 miles of Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle. Its rather sobering, and makes one wonder why anyone should be surprised any time a major storm threatens or devastates the gulf coast.

Let Us Go And Make Our Visit...

Sid Call (1935 -

My father's 70th birthday is today. I have watched him now for 47 years. He's still a spry young man in my eyes, much younger than his years tell. He still likes a good joke and likes to tell a good story, and his kind blue eyes still have that youthful mischievious twinkle when he's witnessed a piece of irony or involved himself in a little prank. He gave my brothers and me one of the greatest gifts a man can give his sons: he taught us how to fish at a very early age. Now grown men, my brothers and I love fishing as much as we did when we were wee boys. I wish him a happy birthday, and wish him many more happy years with my dear mother.
Indeed there will be time.

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 - 1965)

T.S. Eliot was born on September 26, 1888. Two of my favorite poems are his: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and The Wasteland.

If you've kids of your own I highly recommend that you acquire a copy of Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The sheer playfulness of the language in the book's collection of poems will win you and your children over, and perhaps even instill a love of language and its possibilities that you won't get anywhere else. Think of the book as the literary snob's Dr. Suess.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

William Faulkner (1897 - 1962)

William (Harrison) Faulkner was born William Cuthbert Faulkner on this day in 1897. The imaginary Mississippi county and inhabitants that he created in his series of novels are alive and well.

Faulkner's literary legacy is well intact in the usual fashion, with numerous literary societies and scholarly journals devoted to his works. Let us not forget the much-needed academic "Centers-For-The Microdicsection of [insert academic Faulkner navel-gazing hobby here]".

There are many on-line Faulkner resources. You would do well to visit this website as a jumping-off point no matter what your individual interest or reason.

Yesterday my eldest daughter picked up a crusty brittle paperback copy of "The Sound and the Fury" that was laying in one of the unpacked boxes. She remarked "Oh, Faulkner is so hard to read sometimes". I suppose what she meant was that Faulkner's style was difficult to read. His prose is rife with unusual or missing punctuation, run-on sentences and rambling parenthetical inclusions lacking sentence breaks, and uncommon syntax. I believe that these quirky devices contribute the greatness of the work.

My appreciation for Faulkner came from reading the works of a more recent and much more light-hearted southern writer, T.R. Pearson. Pearson uses many of the same quirky devices to great effect, the circuitous run-on sentence in particular. I devoured
A Short History of a Small Place the summer it came out (1985), and have read every word from Pearson's pen since. In times of sorrow I have returned again and again to Short History and found a measure of joy, if not a gracious plenty of rolling belly laughs.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Making a Home

My father was fond of a certain expression which he uttered in response to the question "Where ya goin'?" He'd respond:

"Down the road, to see if the man's mowin" If you follow me, you're sure to get shot!"

Today I mowed the new lawn at the new house for the first time. My father also taught us 3 boys how to do a job right and to take pride in our work. To this day the 3 of us aver that yardwork is not so much work as a time to contemplate and earn a little satisfaction and pride in ourselves. So I enjoyed doing the mowing.

But it doesn't stop when the new-mown grass is just right. Noooooooo. You have to clean all the tools you use, and put them away in their appointed places in better condition than when you used them. So today found me washing the lawn mower when the work was done, dusting and drying it and shining it with a towel before I locked it in its shed to be ready for the next bout of mowing. My Dad takes such good care of his stuff that many things live in their original boxes for decades despite frequent use. Its really remarkable, and many have remarked about how his thrift and loving care of his things makes them last forever - most recently my Mother (no, I'm not suggesting that he embalmed her). We sons have inherited this same mindset (quirk to the rest of you) from Dad.

As I mowed, I made a mental note of other jobs to be done around the grounds: stack the old bricks laying next to the replaced piers that the house sits on (remodeled 1935 Florida shotgun vernacular architecture), gather up the flotsam from the previous owner (bits of shingle and construction odds and ends and interior trim that found their way beneath shrubbery and in odd corners of the yard), etc. They will be attended to when they make it to the top of the moving in priority list.

During the day I took a break to spend some time with my daughters. Lauren flew in from KC MO yesterday. She and little sister Maggie came by to see the new house and go to lunch. We had a great time and chatted for a long time over a great meal at Floyd's Diner - a High Springs hotspot that has so many good meals on the menu that it is truly difficult to make a choice. Maggie opted for the club sandwich, and Lauren and I shared a blackened chicken Caesar salad and a plate of fresh grouper - lightly battered and fried. We were more than rewarded for our choices. The waiter was part of the fun and was completely at our service. He was an older Cuban gentleman who obviously took pride in his job and had no end of fun doing it. He must be a chip off the same block as my father.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

We Read and We Remember

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946)

Today is the birthday of HG Wells. We remember him for such works as "The War of the Worlds", "The Invisible Man", "The Island of Dr. Moreau", and "The Time Machine".

Steven King (1947-

Steven Edwin King was born on this day in 1947. King is arguably one of this generation’s most prolific writers. I don’t think I have enough time in the day to enumerate all of his works. I’m sure you’re familiar with many of them, especially those that have been made into movies, such as “The Green Mile” and “The Shawshank Redemption”.

Movin' On, Movin' In

So much time has gone by since the last posting to the Clog Almanac. The Clog-Wife and I have purchased a home in High Springs, Florida, and are in the process of moving in, and our part of the state has dodged a couple of hurricanes, including the devastating Katrina and just this past weekend, Rita.

The new home is a recently refurbished 1935 bungalow. New tin roof, new plumbing, new wiring, new heating and air conditioning units, a superabundance of ceiling fans, new flooring. Not everything is to our liking, but we are happily spared the hassle and money of remodeling just to make the dwelling livable. We gladly left that exercise to others more ambitious than us.

Our biggest challenge is finding a place for the accumulated possessions of two households. Methinks that empty moving boxes would make good receptacles for the flotsam and jetsam that was moved and is no longer wanted or needed. Good Will may soon receive a windfall if I can stay on track and minimize my share of the junk.