by Bodwyn Wook
I Got right back in the act, in this Guardian column, to-day:
AGAIN, My impieties, below, may be viewed in context, supra:
GOOD Morning! It is a pretty Minnesota November morning, too, Sun shining amidst bare branches; and, netted in a soft wash of watercolourist’s thin cloud. Early, when I first came down-stairs, there was a dead field-mouse laid tidily for our inspection, by She Who Must Be Obeyed’s little black cat, Karma. The out-of-doors mice, with their deer-coats and white tummies, come in-doors famously in the Fall, seeking asylum; and Karma, in her role as ‘Foreign Secretary’ for these parts grimly fixes them.
IN Their stalls, in the old cross-pegged barn on limestone blocks, Huldy and Ragna wuffled their lips and nostrils when I chirped: ‘Apple…apple…!’ and proferred a pair of old-time winter Wealthys. The chooks had for me in their run their morning offering, of fine and big, brown, eggs — proportionate in size to their russet-coloured and speckled Buff Orpington and Plymouth Rock layers. The lingering song sparrows still flit; and, the nuthatches have just appeared — I’ve seen by the feeder no winter chickadees, as yet.
AND, There is the loom of those fool and tough, ponderous, red-elm stumps on the waggon, still be wrestled and split!
RED Elm is a famously gnarly and dense, long-burning, wood. Also, in the old-time ‘Concord’ stage-coaches (which the outlaws all used used to chase & hold-up on the black-and-white Tee Vee, when I was a boy), it was the hardwood of preference for making wheel-hubs.
IN The kitchen on the wall opposite the wood-range hangs the stained old nineteenth-century famous school-room print, of the USS Constitution, under full sail, that I took forty-six years ago, on a Summer visit, from my mother’s old one-roomed school-house, just before it was pulled down. The glass is cracked; and, so, now I’m going to take an early elevenses and then walk into the town, to see who and what may have crawled out:
TO Vote, by God — it is curious, what a fullness of feeling is mine, when I go out and vote. There is the flag (lately turned into a symbol of stumbling war & murder for too, too, many people dwelling abroad) — and, there is the idea that this all still may yet mean something….
I’VE Heard nothing at all, of any early returns, as I’ve ‘Radio 4’ going on the computer; whereas I cannot abide most contemporary and rash American radio (except for my monthly local-history broadcast — grin! — on our local Mankato-area Independent Public Radio station).
I Promise you all, we will turn around this reeling ship of state — if at all we can; and, ‘inshAllah‘, as the Mahometans say, amin.
s/B Wook, CC [retd] & In The Morning
Back From the Polls:
IT Is a lovely day, here at home in southern Minnesota — and, now, I have to go out and make sense out of that waggon-load of tree-stumps.
I Have just returned from a walk into the village, to vote my township-ballot; and, now, Grandpa has to get back at it….
THERE Were no ‘Libertarian’ party-candidates, and so I voted with a (relatively!) clear conscience for every Democrat I could find in my ballot. The fact of course is that the Democrat party is not democratic; and, it is rather the party of America’s subsidised out-land demi-elites, the ‘credentialled’, the ‘helping-professionals’; all that gentry. Theirs is the petty-lordship of the small-town God-damned; the ill & distrait & bewildered; and, the vast legion of ‘Social Security’ pittance-cases. In fact, the Democrat party takes virtually no initiatives from the common ruck and has been in the hands of that same professionalist-wing whose members cut their teeth in putting across the 1972 McGovern-candidacy. Most, if not all, platform-content is vetted by a slick and languid crew that styles itself the ‘Democratic [sic — BW] Leadership Council’, or DLC. These people are self-adoring skunks — but, as of now, anything is better than G W Bush & his pack of horror-zombies.
THE Ballot was a curiously old-fashioned sheet, on which one had to ink-in ones choices. So far, so good — but, then, I was obliged to slip it not into a locked metal box; but, rather, into some gizmo that resembled ironically enough nothing so much as — you guessed it! — a paper-shredder; and, interestingly enough, made similar groaning & moaning noises; like an old Brit bent, I daresay, over his laxatives.
AH, Me, well, once on a time, all this did mean a lot, you know….
NOW for the swing and the click, of the twenty-pound maul. (Grandpa, unlike his slick & professionalist, city-bound betters and their ridiculous ‘Viagra’ medical-prescriptions, most certainly does not have to go to ‘health-clubs’!)
B Wook, CC [retd] & An American Farmer
PS: One forms the impression that my DLC (supra) is on all-fours, with ‘MrD’s’ ‘E U Council of Ministers’.
AS To the corrupting influence of money, there can be no doubt about it.
IN A less-than-perfect world, perhaps now is the time for a period of ‘publicly-funded’ campaigns. Mind you, this is an arsehole, too. Under such a regimen, ‘professionals’, ‘dedicated government employees’ and other such rascals will be in charge of who even may be let on a ballot — this will tend to further cement in place the two essentially-false parties, now taking turns as top-banana in the national monkey-garden.
AT The same time, theoretically, the enabling legislation could be framed to allow other-parties access — and, of dourse, when this set-up all goes to Hell (as it will, inevitably!), we can then ‘go back’ to the present sort of ‘system’.
JEFFERSON’S Basic idea, about a ‘revolution every twenty years’ — of dumping out all the rocks every so often and then putting them back in the can (and, maybe, discarding and/or adding some!) — is probably about optimal.
IN Closing, one would wish to point out that a Democrat-party win is not something entirely to be desired: even if these fauna all were on the qui vive, morally I mean (and, they are not!), still they will be the ones stuck in the usual short-term public ‘mind’, with ‘…WHY we got beat in ‘Iraq, Maaaaan!’
ATSPES Non fracta,
‘AmericanGirl1’: Yeh, actually; when my parents didn’t have me in Dorset and WA and Frankton (NZ). (And, when I warn’t mucking around, in Morocco, in the [hee, hee!] ‘Peace Corps’.) My mother’s lot are old Blue Earth county, Jacobson and Magly, rural Eagle Lake, mainly, since from 1859…. (Though Farleys did go out to NZ in 1849, I think?)
‘Alphacat’: If it’s a ‘choice’ you are mooting, as between Ms Crow and my Aunties, Hell, it’s MY Aunties, every time; they had such great stories to tell me, when I was a little guy! In fact, none of this crew ‘in power’ or prominent in anywise, now, seems very probable to me at all! ‘Tail-Gunner Joe’ McCarthy? Now ‘there’ was a real & complete son-of-a-bitch. These pussy ‘New C—s’ all drink mineral-water, by comparison to that Wisconsin barrel of p-ss! And, Patrice Munsell had it all over Sheryl Crow, sorry….
ANYHOW, I’ve just been back up through the burg (to Juddy Andersen’s, to get a piece of welding, for my ***&#####!!! wood-splitter), and there is a satisfactory, small and steady, parade in-and-out at the town-hall. It’s greyed over a bit, but the airs are warm and soft. We shall see, eh?
I Notice that Judson, too, is wearing an ‘I Voted’ sticker, on his bibbed over-alls; so, later, I shall try to pry out of the old Goldwater-man for whom exactly he did vote? Like myself, he cannot stand these snotty Democrats, with their sheer inability to actually do anything — and, he HATES these ‘baby-boom Republican bastards’! That is a Hell of a cleft stick, I think….
Wook, CC & Back to the Wood-pile!
‘AmericanGirl1’: La bas, la bas…la bas alik? Wesh ta’arif ‘arabiya? Chdamtu wa skuntu asnin bi’l-kateb as-salim, fi’l-mdina qdima al-Fas, fi’l-wust al-Maghreb al-Aqsa…! Qabil, imkin, mumkin, thirty years…. And, there, I seen for myself that muslims are NOT all any more lunatic than lots of other folk, eh? And, did you know Sharmina and her brothers, then in Mankato, min al-Baghdad?
ALL For now, Gang, I’m tuning in ‘stateside’ here, on-line, to hear actually some of the early returns. La Howla wa la quwwatta illa bi’l – ‘ABRU (ahem!), as they say…. If I get word of any really tasty dirt, I’ll let you all know.
s/Wook, CC & ‘abd al-Ghush (grin!)
‘RoachAmerican’: I quite agree with the central implication of your remarks; the following ‘link’ reveals the horrid story, of how Mankato, Minnesota, had its architectural-heritage just smashed to flinders in the 1970s, by city-management — you guessed it! — ‘professionals’, w/oodles of — you guessed it! — ‘free’ money, from — you guessed it! — the federal government:
NEVERTHELESS, I have deemed it necessary even to risk another infestation of Democrats — if we can just shut down this Bush-idiocy!
SO Far so good, no definite word as yet on the Minnesota 1st US congressional district, where we were are trying to be done once-and-for-all w/Congressman Gil Gutknecht, a little shifty-looking man who resembles too-closely my maternal relatives; and, who has been wallowing in the trough for too, too, long. His chief crime, in addition to his sins of appearance & the usual sanctimony, has been an un-Godly amount of silly junketing.
HIS Opponent is Mr Tim Walz, a fine and big, bluff-looking, man who, on the order of appearances, may be said to look lots like ‘Hoss’ Cartwright (actor Dan Blocker), of the old Bonanza Tee Vee show. Mr Walz teaches at ‘West’ high-school, in old Mankato, Minnesota, he taught some of my step-children; and, he is that rare thing for a Democrat or Republican, a fine person. I wonder, should he get voted into the sewer, how long ’twill be, before he goes to Hell, too? But, I was glad to have the choice of voting for him; even though I suppose it will be to have done his soul no favour, on what the muslims call al-akira.
ANYHOW, She Who Must Obeyed is out all night in the van, going about the country precincts a hundred miles around, gathering up totals for the Mankato Free Press, for which she is a free-lance country reporter. In the run-up to all this voting, she has interviewed the most delightful collection of little-town Minnesota wanna-be-sheriff political asses you can possibly envision! I have been with her on some of these outings into the darkest democracy; and, I agree with old H L Mencken:
IT Is the best God-damned comedy on the face of the Earth, the political fidgettings & greed & avidity, of these largely sub-literate & Tee Vee-ridden, out-landish, Americanos.
SWMBO is a retired big-city editor; and, though she grew up quite near me & on a farm, too, she says, about our home-town political-class:
‘I Never in my life imagined that people could be THIS…stupid!’ This particular remark came just after some local adventurer, a couple of townships over, filed for two different elected offices — to hedge his bet, I suppose…. Quote of the cycle:
‘HUNH…I didn’t KNOW it was illegal!’
[IT Promises to be even warmer, to-morrow — St Martin’s summer, indeed. I expect that I will lead out the Horse Girls, Huldy & Ragna, for just a nibble out of the field, of fresh late alfalfa — just a bite, mind, I don’t want to founder them….
[I AM too damn good, to them fool horses, anyway…(gripe, mumble!)]
ALL For nonce,
IT Is coming 9:30 PM, here in southern Minnesota, and the Icelandic ponies, Hulda and Ragna, are standing in their paddock, looking up at the rising waning Moon and trying to blow horse-steam on the damp night air. There is just a rag or two of cloud, and it is warm & still — too warm for horse-steam, anyway….
ON Tee Vee, it is said, with about ten per cent of the ballots counted, that the incumbent Minnesota 1st US congressional district congressman, Gutknecht, is leading his challenger, Mr Tim Walz, by eight points, with 54% — which I feel is too bad; but, probably not for the character and long-term moral well-being of Mr Walz!
OTHERWISE, We would seem likely to rid of an incumbent Republican governor called Pawlenty — he is some blow-in from elsewhere, as is the one of our two Senators not campaigning this time, a New Yorker called Coleman. I know that it may seem odd, coming from an ex-pat such as myself, but I do feel this very deeply to be true, at least for American politics. Perhaps it is because ours is become, for good or ill, such a vagabond society otherwise, but:
PEOPLE Who were born and raised elsewhere, and who have no long-term legitimate family-presence in a state, have no business carpet-bagging where they in fact really do not — cannot — know the people. I suppose that is not so hypocritical, as in fact I would not even dream of running for an elected office here, even despite my old-time family-presence, just because I have led too cosmopolitan a life.
FOR One thing, it just makes one too objective about ones fellow Minnesotans — and, they, as do any people, have actually a right to be rather-simply just loved by their political leaders.
GOVERNOR Pawlenty simply lacks that feeling for us — and, one senses with Senator Coleman, too, that the sneers are barely just kept back. Also, both of these neo-conservative males, no-longer-that-young, nonetheless affect those absurd bushy mops of (tinted!) hair, a la Paul Wolfowitz, which are such a hallmark of undisciplined vanity & moral insanity….
ANYWAY, We appear to be done with this Pawlenty porch-climber. (Congressman Gutknecht does have the decency to be ‘old Minnesotan’, anyway.) I daresay this all must seem quite absurd to UK-residents, where any blow-in can plank down his arse anywhere, and (supposing he can bamboozle the local party-association) stand for parliament. But, here, the land itself rather more does seem to try to take possession of at least the more stable personalities — just as it held the Indians in its arms, before us.
FINALLY, The open seat for the US Senate looks like being carried by an experienced Democrat state-politico, Amy Klobuchar, whose father was an old-time journalist in the Twin Cities, and whose roots are in the Minnesota iron-mining range. She is to be sure one of these left-wing ‘do not do that!’ ladies — but, her Republican opponent, Kennedy, actually tints his skin for Tee Vee (!), rolls his eyes a bit too much and is, altogether, a little-too-obviously hysterical, a masked introvert & latent psychopath.
GOOD On you, Ms Klobuchar!
[NOW I hope that you all realise, there in the UK, that these rosey prospects can evaporate rather quickly, as all the votes are counted; and, we may wind up with The Nutters, after all — but, for this present, I am off to Old Man Judson Andersen’s, to watch the 10 o’clock news on his old black & white Tee Vee (No cable-television for Judson Andersen, by God!), drink black coffee — and, bitch!]
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 7 November 2006]