Monday, December 31, 2018
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Old English sealt "salt" (n.; also as an adjective, "salty, briny"), from Proto-Germanic saltom (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian, Gothic salt, Dutch zout German Salz), from PIE root sal-"salt."
Modern chemistry sense is from 1790. Meaning "experienced sailor" is first attested 1840, in reference to the salinity of the sea. Salt was long regarded as having power to repel spiritual and magical evil. Many metaphoric uses reflect that this was once a rare and important resource, such as "salt of the earth" (Old English, after Matthew v.13). Belief that spilling salt brings bad luck is attested from 16c. To be "above the salt" (1590s) refers to customs of seating at a long table according to rank or honour, and placing a large salt-cellar in the middle of the dining table.
The Dead Sea – bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan – is a salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land. Its famously hypersaline water makes floating easy, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments at area resorts. The surrounding desert offers many oases and historic sites.
Friday, December 28, 2018
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
A wedding song we played for you,
The dance you did but scorn.
A woeful dirge we chanted, too,
But then you would not mourn.
We've all heard the quip about the similarity between weddings and funerals and how they succeed to bring people together. The same may be said about Christmas. Christmas reignites an interest particularly in young people. Though I turned 70 years old in December and I shall shortly be officially retired from the practice of law for a full five years, I haven't completely lost touch with or excluded myself from the present. Nor its projection upon the future. As I contemplated the destiny of my two young nieces (in their early thirties) it made me recall some details of my past.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
As a child I invariably arose from my bed on Christmas morning no later than 3:00 am. Sometimes even earlier. I may have awoken my sister at the same time. In either case I tip-toed down the stairs to see what was under the Christmas tree. Once I recall having found a model wind-up German race car which I immediately took into the kitchen and propelled around the linoleum floor. The car was a silver coloured landau with a rubber snout. I believe it was particularly well made.
Monday, December 24, 2018
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Friday, December 21, 2018
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Christmas is always a time to reunite with friends. The hysteria of the moment alerts one to the pressing need to do so. There isn't much else going on apart from the social ambitions - or perhaps it is the regret at avoiding or missing out on them. I haven't any such contrition, never have. Every Season I attack the imperative with gusto and fulfill whatever magic I am capable of executing (including gifts, wreaths, floral arrangements, cards and whatever other accessories catch my eye during aimless rambles throughout the glittering merchant outlets). Christmas is highly charged for me!
Thus invigorated I called Vancouver. "My mother died mid-September at 99", he told me. At last - I thought - but instead said, "My sympathies". To which he replied, "Someday I have to tell you the full story. But not now."
There are exceptions to this saccharin mysticism. Yet the so-called inescapable realities shouldn't be cause for dissolution. The New Year will soon remind us all that Time is running out; and that the object is not to perpetuate but relish. It behooves us to extract what flavour we can. The challenge isn't preposterous purity but rather intelligent absorption.
How comical it is to be surprised by the serendipity of life - as though our perception of anything were other than topical. The coincidences of life are not by chance or luck! They are the very composition of our essence! Though we haven't a shred of control of providence we mustn't pretend to limit its anatomy.
Often I have been reminded of the unpredictable nature of life - the unpleasant and the pleasant. Surely there is no profit in elimination! Neither should we suffer the persuasion of intemperate consolation. The better resolve is the only one that is possible in any event, just keep going and hope for the best! And leave the pettiness behind; it'll only haunt you in the end.
“Quickly, as if she were recalled by something over there, she turned to her canvas. There it was—her picture. Yes, with all its greens and blues, its lines running up and across, its attempt at something. It would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be destroyed. But what did that matter? she asked herself, taking up her brush again. She looked at the steps; they were empty; she looked at her canvas; it was blurred. With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the centre. It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.”
Excerpt From: Woolf, Virginia. “To The Lighthouse.” Public Domain
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
My late father was not what I would call particularly sentimental, at least not overtly. In fact he tended to be otherwise - more tranquil and unemotional, no doubt a reflection of his regimental military background (and the fact that to my knowledge he never drank a drop of alcohol - unless one counts my mother's "Dizzy Fruit" as he called it, a concoction of pears, peaches and other fruits drenched in sugar and a liberal portion of cognac or some similar preservative). He did however succumb to the magic of Christmas in his own special way. Though I can't recall him ever having bought a Christmas present for anyone in the family he nonetheless displayed his magnanimity by rolling up dollar bills of varying denominations in Christmas wrapping, tied up with a small coloured bow then randomly hung upon the Christmas tree. The custom was the cause of occasional concern as he or others attempted to recapitulate the total number of "gifts" to ensure that none was lost in the accumulating paper debris arising from the other gifts opened throughout the course of the Christmas morning ceremony.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
There are some for whom evangelism of any measure or purpose is an utter affliction, this in spite of the strength or universality of the intended communication. The bible - notwithstanding its poetic use of metaphor - seldom fails to makes its point. This does not however imply that the cloak of design is entirely without uncertainty. Take for example the expression from Matthew 7:6.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,
neither cast ye your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them under their feet,
and turn again and rend you.
Friday, December 14, 2018
Friday, December 7, 2018
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Saturday, December 1, 2018
It is Saturday, the 1st day of December. Though the temperature is 76℉ and there is a wind of 20 mph out of the south, I have turned off the air conditioner and opened the apartment balcony door and my bedroom window to delight in the refreshing late afternoon breeze. Autumn has incontestably ended. A sudden serenity marks the hibernation of the next six weeks before the season begins. Even the falling leaves on the bike path this morning were forlorn and withered. The dulled walkway wound lonesomely, its visage alternately changing beneath the grey sky or the dappled sunshine. The day is a sandwich of events blending into one sensible impression highlighted today by the rollicking mixture of sun and clouds, high wind and thrashing waves on the beach, and the violent tumult of the beating heads of palm trees. The dry relieving air hints of a turbulence on the horizon. It is only 5 o'clock but already the shadows upon the tiled rooftops are long. A narrow shard of light crosses the crowns of the giant ferns in the distance. Winter is coming.