Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dodge a bullet, maybe.

I went to a site to research Real Picture Postcard (RPPC) dates, a site I've used many times in the past, and as soon as I did, adobe launched, for no reason.

The last time adobe started for no reason, I suddenly had Trojan Cryptic.AM on my computer demanding money to fix problems that didn't exist.   It also shut down my anti-virus software, and disabled my ability to download anything. 

This time when it kicked off, I hit the blue power button on the computer.   I didn't shut down gracefully - well a bit more gracefully than pulling the plug, maybe, but just a bit.  I just turned it off.

I don't know what would have happened had I not turned it off, maybe nothing.   But everything seems fine - malwarebytes ran, scans came back clean, nothing bad is happening.   Good.

But still, I don't understand.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Storms are a-coming, and other things I don't feel like writing about.

I can't think of anything to write, and it's been that way for several days.  It's not that I haven't had any 'ventures, it that I don't feel like writing about them. 

For example, I went to South Mountain State Park Tuesday (I think), on a hike up to the waterfalls.  Well, that's what it was billed as, but it turned out to be up to the waterfalls, up a steep hill past the waterfalls and way, way beyond.  It was just a tad more than a beginner's hike, but here I am, alive and well.  But I don't feel like writing about it.

Also for example, I have another blog "A Valdese Store" that is linked to this blog via Entre-Card, but one day it, along with the EC credits associated with it were nowhere to be found, Entre-Card wise.  I looked in the email associated with this blog & apparently EC's security had found something it didn't like (virus wise - again I use virus generically) on the blog, and severed the connection.  So I wrote them back and asked what do I do now?  I don't know if they've replied, because I haven't looked.  I suppose I should do that, but the  reason I haven't looked is because I don't really expect a reply. 

Another example is that some violent storms are headed our way.  I think they're around Texas/Louisiana/Mississippi right now, and expected to be in our neck of the woods Sunday or so.  They'll probably be hitting us from the south, and that's never good. 

I haven't written any sermons on the use of English lately - maybe I could do that.  I find it a lot of fun to write about stuff I really don't know about, and sound authoritarian while doing it.  I was explaining to MP about Ukrainian Chili the other day, but I made it all up.  I was channeling Cliff Clavin.  Anyway maybe I could tackle "affect vs effect", or perhaps "it's vs its", if I haven't already.

Or I could write about the regionalism/dialect I grew up with as a child in Eastern Kentucky.  The one that enabled me to read Huckleberry Finn at age 11 without missing a beat.  I didn't talk like that, but my grandparents did, or very close to it, and I understood it.  I absolutely undertood it. I've  already covered haint & hit & right smart and lots of other stuff already.  So I'd have to think about it.  It's something I "might could" do.

I could make a bunch of stupid social observations.  Like no matter how cool, or famous, or smart or popular or intelligent or powerful or well known or cult-like someone is, they all tend to sit in chairs of some sort.

Maybe a stuff around the house picture.  I haven't done that in awhile.

This blog was originally going to be a lot more about Valdese, NC that it has turned out to be.  Maybe I could get back to my original intentions.  Or not.

I don't know.  I just don't feel like writing anything right now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Out of the Blue

I wonder what causes a person to become ill, out of the blue. I guess it could be a million things, from a 24hr bug to some long undetected chronic condition. Either way, it's disconcerting. I prefer to have some warning ahead of time. After all I'm not as young as I used to be, and this stuff has the potential to be more serious than it did when I was 10 or 12.

Well I guess I did have some warning, just not much. On Friday morning, I walked the dog as normal - up around the cemetery, came back and started doing some eBay stuff. By 10 AM, I wasn't feeling good - but I thought maybe I was hungry. We had lunch with a friend (Judges in Morganton, overlooking the Catawba River), but I found I had no appetite. By 2 PM, I was felt there was a 50/50 chance that there would be some vomiting in my immediate future. By 2:30, I was pretty certain. We got back home around 3 PM, I walked into the bathroom and the festivities started, so to speak. I figured I'd be at it all night, but not quite. Things started quieting down after a couple of hours of pure misery.

In addition to that, I had a low grade fever (100.5 I think), a minor headache, and an on again off again sore throat. I pretty much didn't move most of the evening.

Saturday morning I felt better, but for the first time since one day in November 2008, I didn't take the dog out for it's usual morning walk.

Today, I think everything is ok.

I guess that is how it works though - there's very little rhyme or reason when you get sick. It just happens. And the fact that it was a very nice, warm spring day has nothing to do with anything. And I suppose I should be happy it was nothing major, and it was not any worse than it was.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Expert Textpert Choking Smokers & Elementary Penquins.

I'm reading 3 different books right now off and on.  And the reason I'm reading 3, is because I'm finding 2 of them, The Road to Omaha and To Catch A Falling Spy, pretty boring.  I'm just not connecting.  So I picked up a book of Edgar Allen Poe short stories and read the first one. 

Here is what Poe thinks is a good story.

In Jerusalem, in the time of the Romans, some Pharisees needed to get a lamb for a sacrifice.  It was necessary to purchase the lamb from Gentiles, and the transaction was supervised by Roman soldiers.  The way the transaction worked is they would lower a basket with silver down a wall at the edge of town, the gentiles would take the silver, put a lamb in the basket and Pharisee's would raise the basket back up.  That way they didn't have to mingle too much.  Add some conversation and some other observations, and you have the plot of this story.

So....they go to the wall and lower the silver, and wait.  It's misty, so they can't really see the ground (it's a couple hundred feet below, anyway), and after awhile they worry that they are going to be cheated.  But eventually they feel weight on the basket and they begin to pull it up.  They're all happy, but it's misty and they can't really see the lamb until it's near the top.  Of course when they finally do see it, it's not a lamb at all.  It is a pig.  The Pharisee's are disgusted, and they dump it out head first, to fall a couple of hundred feet down onto the heads of the gentiles below.

Well, it's not like the pig had any life ambitions.  And I suppose the gentiles, if they had any sense, had already scattered.

So it's kind of an odd, sick, weird little story, very Edgar Allen Poe.  But those few pages, hard to read as they were with the stilted 19th century way of writing, blew the other two books I'm reading out of the water. 

I may not finish those books.  It'll be an effort.

P.S.  At 6:54 PM EDT in the USA, it ocurred to me to change the title of this post to something that at least had some passing reference to Edgar Allen Poe.  So I did.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Tombstone at the Cemetery in Valdese

This is the 2nd in my much anticipated and long awaited series of 2 tombstones.  This one is at the cemetery in Valdese, the one at the corner of Praley & Carolina, at the top of the hill, in the old section.  It is unique among the tombstones there.

This marks the grave of Jenny S. Ghigo, "Epouse et mere, bien-aimee".  She was born in 1903 & died in 1934, at the age of 31 and some months.  She would have been among the first generation of the Italian Waldensian founders of Valdese born in the USA.  It's very possible her parents were part of the original Valdese settlement in 1893.  The Waldensians were from Italy, but the inscription on her tombstone seems French to me.  I don't think these people spoke Italian, and I'm not sure they spoke French either, even though most of their names sound much more French than Italian.  They were from the Alps, mountain people, and mountain people the world over seem to not be part of the mainstream culture of their society.

This tombstone is also interesting because there is a picture of her, sitting in a chair, looking happy.  She looks to be in her mid to late 20s.  I walk the dog up this way frequently, and I always stop and look.

She didn't live very long.  She was a wife and a mother, if I'm translating the inscription correctly.   So I wonder. Accident?  Illness? Complications of childbirth?  Something more sinister?  After almost 76 years I guess it doesn't matter, and I'm not even sure why I'm curious, but of course, I am.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Christian Stoller, Emanuel Baust Church, Old Taneytown Road, Maryland

Because I'm in that kind of mood, this and my next blog post, whenever that may be, are going to feature tombstones at cemeteries.

I took this picture about 5 years ago, and it marks the final resting place of Christian Stoller, born November 1764, and died May 1783 - a short life.  One of the neat things about this stone is that it is in German, or rather it mixes German and English, using German for born and died, and the English spelling of May.  I lived in this area for quite awhile, and since I had also lived in Germany for several years, I was very aware of the German place names and road names, and the preponderance of German surnames of the people living in and around Taneytown.

The area was obviously settled by people from Germany.   The town of Taneytown was founded in 1754, ten years before Christian Stoller was born.  He died in 1783, so the last years of his life were violent ones in American history, and in North America.   He would have been the right age for an army badly in need of bodies, but I have no idea if that was the case.  He could have just as easily gotten sick, or been injured on the farm.  Baust church is 4 or 5 miles outside of town - the town's not that big now, it must have been a miniscule village in 1764.   Chances are he lived with his parents on a farm in the area.  I wish I knew. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Praley Street, near the cemetery.

This is a picture of Praley St, SW in Valdese, looking more or less to the north.   The cemetery is to the right, with the old cemetery being at the top of the hill.  The little church in the picture is the Amazing Grace Community Church, and it is on the corner of Praley and South Avenue.  The mountains ( I do believe they're part of the Blue Ridge chain) in the background are quite visible, and if you click on the picture to make it full size, you can see them clearly.  For some reason I have to click it twice to make it work (not double click, two single clicks.  Weird.).   Main Street in Valdese is a mile give or take, past the church.  For the rest of the world, that's 1.6 km.

To say it is springtime in Valdese right now would be an understatement.  You can't hardly get more spring than this.

Patti Anne went with Pickles & me on the dog walk this morning, and she took the picture.  Patti Anne, not Pickles.  Pickles mostly snapped at bees, and we're all happy she didn't catch any. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I like my doctors happy.

I read an article online, in kind of a left leaning tabloid-ish blog type of thing, about a doctor in Florida who is refusing to treat patients who voted for Barack Obama.   He's unhappy about the recent health care reform. 

I would not go to this doctor, and it has nothing to do with my or his political leanings.  It has everything to do with the fact that he does not seem happy.  I want my doctors to at least appear to be happy, content and traveling through life on an even emotional keel, at least when I'm in their presence.   I understand doctors are human, and they have opinions, biases, prejudices, likes, dislikes, family issues and so on, just like anybody else.  But when I'm in their office, I'm nervous enough as it is - I want calmness, reassurance & competent professionalism, not conflict.  That seems like basic customer service to me.

I don't want an upset, grumpy, angry doctor anywhere near my prostate.  That's traumatic enough in the best of circumstances.

Back in the days when I used to fly a lot, I'd avoid any airlines that were having labor problems, if at all possible.  I didn't like to fly, and I didn't need the added stress of thinking about the possibility that the airplane I was riding in may have been serviced by an disgruntled mechanic.  Same principle.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Difference Between Me & Helen Topping Miller (or why I'm not a writer, part 2)

Me:  As King approached the village, he could hear music in the distance.

HTM:  It was when he turned back from the river that King heard the music.  It was swamp music, primitive as the creeping of dark, secret creatures through tangling vine and sucking morass.  It was a music as old as creation, old as the Nile, the mourning sob and keen and arpeggio of a people despised and rejected since time began. In mud huts in the shadow of the palaces of the Pharohs, in the reeking deeps of slave ships, the moan and timbre and ululation of it would have been the same, the melodic plaintive heartbreak of a homeless people.....

I would never think to use words like arpeggio and ululation.   They are not part of my everyday vocabulary.

This is from a small book called "After The Glory", written by Helen Topping Miller in 1958.  It takes place in Tennessee, and tells the story of a family & a community in the months following the end of the civil war - reconstruction, in other words.  It was a pretty rough time for most people, no matter what their station in life.  As is always the case, it was rougher on some than others.  The music the character was hearing was coming from a community of recently freed slaves.

I'm not sure if this book would be classified as great literature, it's certainly inconsistent with it's use of dialect, in my opinion, and is no threat to the likes of John Steinbeck or Mark Twain, but its well above my capabilities.  It tells an interesting story, and I thought that was a neat passage, an interesting way to describe a person approaching a small village, worn out by war.