HOLD on there...........  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Something is attacking the trees in our goat pen. There is one casualty already and most of the other trees in this enclosure are suffering from some strange, mysterious malady that appears to be manifesting itself as a reddish bark coloration. I hadn't even noticed anything out of the ordinary till today when I was returning the goats to their pen and noticed that the leaves of one small oak had all turned brown, like in DEAD! I went in to examine the tree closer and noticed a ring ofa onblur bark missing with tiny little fungus-like threads springing out of the naked surface. I can't tell if the missing bark was caused by Billy (the only one big enough to reach that far up) or from the disease. This is really odd and distressing. If anyone is at all familiar with what might be affecting my oaks in this one area, I would be appreciative of any info. I would like to mention that the Hold has experienced more rain on a daily basis this summer than in any previous period since this plot was settled, if that might have anything to do with it.

Today I braved the sun and humidity and ventured up on the roof, blowing off the limbs, twigs and leaves and cleaning out the gutters. While up there, I decided to get a pictorial of what the Hold looks like from above. It's an interesting perspective.

The Resident Offspring left to go visit her beau in Macon, so THE Wife and I have the Hold to ourselves for the weekend at least. When the cats' away..........hehe

Me, I have to work the weekend, then on the Second of the month I take another stab getting my eye fixed, only this time with the help of some chemical distraction. Frankly, I would rather they just knock my ass out cold, like was done for my colonoscopy, but these people always want to use the least conciousness-altering method possible. Hey, I'm from the sixties, give me a break! GO FOR IT!

So McCain picked a woman for V.P. Big deal. That's supposed to make HIM more attractive? I don't think so. Hillary had the credentials; this chick is........let's just say I don't want to hear any more B.S. about who has enough experience to lead this nation. C'mon, McCain could drop dead as soon as he takes the oath; we want someone, regardless of gender, that no one ever HEARD of to take on Vladamir Putin? At least we've had years now to get to know Barack Obama. McCain's pick of this woman is the worst kind of pandering I ever saw. I guess he cynically wants to give all those women who were so pissed off that Hillary didn't get the nomination a bone to chew on. Any woman who would bite THAT hook is just flat clueless to begin with and would vote for Hannibal Lector just for spite.

I've waited long enough. I want an affordable electric or hybrid car. I don't want to spend any more of MY money on imported oil. I want one of those new jobs that green tech can create if we just got off our asses and started building the new alternative energy infrastructure with the help of our government. I'm tired of tax breaks going to oil companies just so they can suck my wallet dry with high gas and energy prices. I'm tired of paying my hard earned taxes just to see them shoveled into the greedy pockets of corporate interests. I'm tired of my country's good name and reputation being dragged through the mud by a clique of wealthy neocons who've hoodwinked everybody, even their own conservative base. And I want MY damn social security to be there when I get to old to keep my present job and have to greet customers at Walmart, not have it all pissed away by wall street and the stock market. Don't give me that "historic performance over time" B.S., that doesn't help me one bit if the market goes to hell with my money the day I have to retire. And I've waited long enough for this country to finally have the balls to elect someone other than a fat, wealthy, old as shit white guy. Like our founding fathers said, " ALL men were created equal"!

By the way, have any of you ever wondered exactly what I mean when I refer to my habitat as Pendragon "HOLD"? If so, then wonder on over to the sidebar>>>>>and there you will find a Wiki definition of what I mean by HOLD. Not that I even have ROOM for any large winged lizards, but I have an affinity for what the concept embraces. I hope you enjoy the new feature. My thanks to Anne McCaffrey and her vision of a wonderful, challenging world.

It was Good.............  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I made a point tonight to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. I wanted to be there, as I have for the last five-odd decades, for history. Oh, well, history is what it is, I suppose.

He is a great orator, this young man who just happens to be of mixed race. And, as best I can judge, he truly will make a great president. I know he would make a much better president that that old white guy whose greatest claim to fame is having been shot down in Vietnam and having to spend the rest of it in the Hanoi Hilton. I have as much respect as is due Mr McCain for his patriotism and ability to make promises as a politician. And I swear I will quit this country once and for all if another "majority" of it's citizens think that John McCain represents what this country is really about.

However, as far as history goes, I have heard many a historic and awe-inspiring speech, such as those given by Robert Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. I have seen the strides made and the damage done by a parade of politicians who made promises they either exceeded or failed utterly to honor. I have gone from rabidly proud American, to a seemingly ex-patriot who wondered where his country went. But in all these years living in this nation, I have always been honest enough to know that we had shortcomings, some of them severe, that needed attending to, and all I asked of any man seeking my vote is that they be equally honest, and not feed me a line of BS I knew wasn't going to address those problems that threatened my livelihood or my freedom, or made my country a target of shame and ridicule elsewhere in this world.

John McCain, despite all his flip-flop observations that bear no resemblance to reality or his tepid solutions that solve nothing but the protection of the status of the status quo, wants to drag this country through four more years of the same insanity that threatens to make this a two-class society, one of haves, and those that serve them. The man used to have a mind of his own, but in the perfect mirror of Faustian sell-out, he sold his soul lock, stock and barrel to the far right wing mindset just to get the nomination of a party that has a proven pedigree of ownership by right wing christianity and corporate interests.

Barack's speech was good, it gave me some flavor of what to expect from him, but it did not rock me to the core as I hoped it would. I guess I was expecting too much from the man, who has had to wade through all the classic discriminations this country could throw at him without carrying the cynical baggage that you would expect him too. And regardless of employing a style that could not quite inspire as powerfully as Bill Clinton did, he still won my trust and most likely my vote come November. The worst that could happen should he falter in his campaign would be that I switch my vote, as hopeless as such a gesture would be, to Ralph Nader, but I will NEVER tell a conservative that their backward vision of democracy makes any sense by lending such a bankrupt philosophy my vote.

And for those of you who in your huffy hurt pissed off demeanor want to get revenge by switching your vote from Hillary Clinton to John McCain, I just have one question........why in the HELL did you vote for Hillary to begin with? Are you fucking INSANE? If you can't get over your petty self and vote for the democratic nominee, or some other independent, at least do us all a favor and get out of politics altogether, for you have proven you totally lack critical thinking skills, and that flash is all you understand. Really...........grow UP!

That's my insignificant opinion on this day in history, such that it is.

A Failure of Vision; Parts One and Two  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Part One......

(Please imagine the sound of gnashing of teeth......hear it? Good........please proceed with today's exciting episode of TTEM)

Sigh, I went to the eye doc today, waited about 45 minutes for my long-awaited procedure to have these FRIGGIN BOULDERS removed from the inside of my eyelid, and after reassurances from the nurse I wouldn't feel a thing, some VERY painful injections to numb my eyelid, a SECOND round of injections to reinforce the first set that didn't exactly do the job, it was decided that we would have to do this in the operating room, where they could send me on my way to LA LA land so that I wouldn't have to be there to experience the overwhelming "discomfort" that seems to accompany this procedure. I tried to tough it out, really I did, but I just couldn't handle the feeling that someone was JABBING MY DAMN EYEBALL WITH A BLUNT STICK. Reminds me of all those times the Dentist said "You're gonna feel a little pressure" right before he inflicted the worst imaginable pain. So now I get to attempt to get some sort of sleep for another five or six days, which I haven't been very successful at without taking sleeping pills.

Other than that, everything is just hunky-dory!

It COULD be worse, I suppose. He COULD be doing this to me in a CATHOLIC surgery center...........

Oh great, I can imagine my dreams tonight.........a nun standing over me in the operating room with a wooden ruler, shouting, "If thine eye offends thee, PLUCK IT OUT!!!!.........hahahahahahaha)

I don't think I'm getting any sleep tonight.

Part Two......

Tonight, in the aftermath of a botched attempt at relieving the mote in my eye, I attempt to enjoy myself watching a Ken Burns examination, I venture an accurate one, of the life of Samuel Clemens, known to those of us who payed attention in school as Mark Twain. I have always been a great admirer of this gentleman, despite the fact that I have never been in a habit of holding any mortal man upon a pedestal, or to grant hardly anyone a heroes' status. He earned my undying respect of his own accord, based upon his own words and the descriptions of historians, past and present. Fortunate would be the man today that could earn such standing, regardless of what he would be accused of.

Aside from the undeniable fact that Mr Clemens was a man far ahead of his time, his dry wit and refusal to take any man or any institution seriously, and his bravery in taking them all on with equal ferocity, is what makes me regard him with special favor and affection. Even as his lifestyle contradicted his lampoons of the privileged class, he refused to abandon his pointed efforts to illuminate the sad truths that mankind so recklessly wallows in. Perhaps enough citizens, listening to this man's mostly entertaining lectures, actually listened, and even more so learned, what he was trying to really get across and thus joined a collective mindset that today would be considered progressive, even by today's standards. I do know that even now, many of my fellow men could read something this forward looking individual passed on to us, and be enlightened, even as he laughed, which probably gives good reason to fascists, fundamentalists, and those sour of demeanor to burn his works lest they get loose amongst the public and improve them to an uncomfortable degree.

If there is any credence to be given to reincarnation, I would gladly entertain the idea of having been the soul living in Mark Twain's skin, even as now he would be so sorely disappointed in how I, as him recycled, have fared as a human being. He inspires me to be better, if not as your average man, husband, and citizen, then as a writer and a man laying claim to wit. I would like to think that how I see things are things seen as clearly and logically as Mr. Clemens himself saw them, then put to paper for all of our benefit. Alas, in all my days past and those afforded me henceforth, I do not think I shall ever lend MY readers such inspiration, wisdom, OR style of delivery, but by God, even if he DID exist, I would certainly endeavor to do so before the reaper comes to claim his due. You, my readers, are more than welcome to point out, although I would hope not cruelly, my shortcomings in that regard, but if I somehow defeat you of such an effort, I will continue to write most happily, and hopefully, not at any one's expense.

Druids, Quakers and Wiccans, Oh MY!  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Is Mercury in retrograde or something? Seems everybody I know, here in the Hold and out there in blogland, is suffering from something or another. My eye was bothering me so badly last night I got no ( I mean zero, nada, absolutely zilch) sleep at all and had to call out. I gave up and dosed myself with a sleeping pill in the morning just to catch a few short hours of shut eye before I went bonkers. Tomorrow I finally see the eye doctor who is hopefully going to rid me once and for all of this damned irritant beneath my eyelid! Either that or I'm going to be publishing this blog with crayon from a softly padded, undisclosed location........

Then, tonight, THE Wife comes home from work with yet ANOTHER headache, for which I have to give her an injection of Imetrix. It seems to be working but I wonder what she's supposed to do once it wears off? She swears this latest series of headaches has nothing to do with her shoulder, for which she's gotten botox treatments, but then, if not, what is?

Reading my favorite blogs, I find we are not alone by any means. Anne, my favorite Druid of "The Gods Are Bored" fame, has a bad hip which is going to be operated on at (I shudder to think of it) a CATHOLIC hospital! Please rush right over there and leave her your very best wishes, along with any shielding magik you can weave in her favor. She'd do the same for you! Wouldn't you, Anne? Anne? ANNNNNNEEEEE.................

My favorite pagan Quaker (or Quaker pagan, not sure how that works exactly) Citizen of The World, has had her own share of migraines and has been suffering miserably for a while now. Still, she soldiers on and does what needs be done. Go visit her heroic site, now laden with awards, and lend her some encouragement as well. Tell her a sleep-deprived Wiccan sent you.

The Buffalo and Homo Escapeans seem to be doing OK, which I attribute to being on the Northern side of the border. That should tell ya something right there......

Everybody on my blog list over there >>>>>> are wonders in their own rights, or they wouldn't be there. I'm picky that way. I have an eye for talent, and if I give them the nod, you can be assured that you are visiting a quality site that is low in calories, high in nutrients, and downright satisfying to the soul.

Ok, I took another Ambien, am crossing my fingers, and hope I can get some sleep tonight. Wish me luck, guys, wish ALL of us luck, everyone!

A Waterlogged Weekend  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It's been my experience that nobody posts on the weekends, probably because they have better things to do....like weekend things. I used to do things on weekends, way back when work was a five day thing, possibly some overtime on Saturdays, rarely on Sundays. Now, I work every other weekend, and have an average of three days off during the front or rear part of the week, due to the 12 hour shifts I work, which gets those hours out of the way real quick. You guys, well, I assume that you are still in that nine-to-five trench, getting your forty hours from Monday till Friday and celebrating those two weekend days off by going out and doing something away from the house. If you are young, that might mean PARTAY from 9 PM till the early morning hours after which you somehow make it home alive and spend the rest of Sunday recovering from the overdose of spirits and all the pain and agony that might entail. If you are older, it might mean going somewhere during the daylight hours like a picnic or a hike or a visit to a museum or a few days a local nudist colony........hey, no judgement here! Whatever, we here at the Hold make do with attempting to coordinate our entirely differing schedules to do whatever that might allow, taking vacation time to actually go somewhere of any distance and expense.

So, weekends to me usually mean I don't get to enjoy many new posts from my favorite blogs, because most of you simply are not at home to post to them, leaving me here in the lurch. So, just to get revenge, I am going to post! THERE, that ought to serve all of you right!

Yesterday was spent sort of in a haze, having taken a muscle relaxer to try and deal with a slight back pain I was having, which I am sure I got from pulling large people up in bed at work. Today, I had to put the tarp back up over the alter out in the shade garden/sacred space, pick up some downed wood, return some potted trees to their designated spots in the garden, return the wind chimes to their limbs, and tie the goats out to some areas that needed trimming, before this new batch of thunderstorms moved in and moistened us some more, as if a friggin tropical storm wasn't wet enough!

Right now I'm listening to internet radio, thunder, rain on the roof, and the panting of my brave canine companion Shiloh, who at this very moment is sure he is going to die, despite the many years of thunderstorms he has survived without so much as a scratch. THE Wife is in her Witch Room creating some of the coolest bottles for herbs and potions and what-not, using some cool rub-on labels she and the Resident Twin scored at the local crafts emporium. I am rather intrigued with the talents both THE Wife and THE Resident Twin have displayed with their crafts. Me, all I do is write.

Sly and the Family Stone! I love this station!

This is my Sunday Post. I will be working the next two days. If I don't get in posts during that time, consider that MY weekend.


Posted by Alex Pendragon

I want to thank all my readers for the protective bubble of good will that you sent us here at Pendragon Hold. I was able to make it home in the middle of the worst of it, thanks to my dirt road not flooding to the extent that I couldn't make it past the new formed lakes all along it's length, and the wind gusts not being strong enough to shove my little Focus off the blacktop. Quite frankly, and no disrespect to Frank, we've seen worst wind gusts and rains from the summer thunderstorms we've had here at the Hold, including a couple of hailstorms you might remember me mentioning awhile back. However, there WAS a moment of mild terror as the large tornado appeared near Green Cove and headed North, skirting the St. Johns River. Later it was reported that no homes were heavily damaged or destroyed, but this thing WAS big enough to have done some real damage before it dissipated.

What's really amazing is that we didn't even lose our power! Oh sure, there were about four or five surges, but only just enough to shut down the air conditioners and computers, no harm done. Many thousands of others were not so fortunate, as they are sitting there with some minor flooding and no power. Maybe they should have have chanting blogging buddies like we did. Thanks, guys!

So what do I get to do this weekend? Pick up a whole bunch of branches and return all the yard stuff to their former places of honor.

Life could be worse.

A whole LOT worse............

Soggy Bottom Blues  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

This is a SECOND attempt to write a post after having lost the first one to a power surge. Please stand by........

O.K., guys, I knew I asked all of you out there in THE Michael's Big Fat Fan Club to chant "Fay, Fay, go away!" and you all came thru for me. I do thank you. That's the good news. The bad news is that my first real attempt (mine, not THE Wife's) at weather magik seems to have backfired. Instead of heading off harmlessly into the gulf to go harass some oil rigs or into the atlantic to go die a dignified death, Fay decided instead to meander up the East coast, stop right next to the Jacksonville area, then veer hard left right across the state, right over the top of Pendragon Hold!

Well, maybe not exactly on TOP of us, but with the eye of this thing just South of us now, we are getting the Northern bands, the "dirty, wet" area of this beast. It has been sitting right off the coast most of the day, as if deciding what to do with itself, and has now slowly edged across Duval and Northern Clay Counties, dumping copious amounts of rain, flooding many communities, and threatening to flood our dirt road that has no real drainage to speak of. I worked my shift at the hospital today, getting off maybe 20 minutes early, hoping I could make it past the lake that would surely be forming near the black top, the same lake that several years ago during another near miss, my old station wagon suffered the affront of a flooded transmission driving through that VERY deep mud puddle. Thank Poseidon, the water had so far only made it halfway across the road, leaving me to circumnavigate a muddy, rutted mess but nevertheless making it home safe and sound.

However........this thing is limping along slowly through the night, and we will be catching the worst of this meteorological abortion as the Northern most and Eastern portion of the storm passes through the area, dumping even more rain, possibly flooding our property and our poor, maligned dirt access to civilization. However, I want to thank our lucky stars for the true nature of this beast, for we have seen stronger wind gusts during the many thunderstorms which have pounded us this summer, and so far our electricity has not been shut off entirely (fingers crossed). If someone has to experience the wonders of tropical meteorology, this is about as benign as it gets.

With any luck, our power will remain on, and the end of the road will be so totally submerged that we will (gasp) be FORCED, (alas) to call out of work until such time that the water recedes and we can make it out onto the blacktop. Knowing MY luck.......what do YOU think? Oh well.............

So, there you have it, the truth of the matter from the front lines here at Pendragon Hold, where yours truly is enduring the indignities of a blow job from a Lady named Fay. May YOUR disasters be as equally open to the joys of sick and twisted metaphor, no harm being done.

Diggin In  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, folks, it seems I was a bit cavalier in my assessment of the threat posed to us here at Pendragon Hold by this insane tropical storm/wannabe hurricane known to us as Fay. If we had only named it Fred, the thing would have done what it was going to do and been done with it. Now here we are sitting here wondering if she's gonna catch some Atlantic, power up or not, and come under, over, or on top of us. It seems that at a bare minimum we are going to have a lot of water dumped on us, which at the very least will flood our dirt road, and the wind gusts might very well take out our power this time. Ever lose your power in this kind of heat and humidity for an extended period of time? You don't want to know. Even though I have tried to put away everything I think the expected winds might want to play with, I have no idea how well what remains will perform in steady high winds and/or pretty bad gusts, Several years ago we had at least one very close near miss which buffeted us with gusts of no more than perhaps 60 mph, but sustained winds of 75 or over might prove to be a deal breaker, and there's always those rouge tornadoes that like to tag along in these storms. One of THOSE hits, and it's game over.

In the mean time, I just wanted to make sure that you guys didn't misunderstand the chant we want you to mutter under your breath for the next two days. It wasn't "Fay, Fay, come today...", it was "Fay, Fay, go AWAY....."...........AWAY, get it? THANKS! Just making sure.........

In the meantime, this is THE Michael, reporting from the front lines, wishing you all a dry and.........wait.......what's that on the horizon....?.......no......I need to rub my eyes........what is tha.....no.....NO.......IT CAN'T BE.......it's......IT'S GODZI.......................................................... ............ ...... .... . .

A Stick in the Eye, HAL Goes Bersek, and Fay Bears Down  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Yea, yea, it's been awhile since the last post, but believe me, I've had issues, which provides plenty of post fodder, so I guess it's six of one, half-dozen of another.....

The worst I have to report as of now is that our stewardship of our adopted Ms Sadie Mae, the black cat, was tragically short lived. I am sure that I am entirely to blame for what happened, and it weighs heavy on my heart. I had taken the cat out of the arms of THE Wife in bed before retiring, placing her next to the food bowl in the kitchen. What I didn't realized (thank my ever-increasing forgetfulness as I age) was that I had left the back door open for Shiloh to come back in from his last pee-break of the night. Naturally, being brand new to the household, Sadie Mae took the opportunity to escape into the night, as any cat would, and has not been seen since. I scoured the neighborhood the next day, even printing up flyers and distributing them in hopes that someone had seen her, to no avail. Two days later, we came across a road-kill casualty about a mile away on the main road, but I was not able to judge with certainty that the dead cat was our Sadie Mae. At the very least, I think my personal Karma has gone from perhaps in the green zone to severely overdrawn, even if her escape was due to an innocent oversight on my part. Needless to say THE Wife was heart-broken, as am I. I am so sorry, Sadie Mae.....please forgive me.

I finally was able to see the eye doctor, and the consensus is that I am NOT suffering from a chronic state of dry-eye, instead, have an issue with an oil gland beneath my eyelid that has gotten clogged up, resulting in tiny "stones" being formed with the gland, which has reduced the vital oils required by my tears, and causing the sensation of having a stick in my eye, which has robbed me of hours of sleep over the past several weeks. He has shown me how to use very hot compresses to attempt to "melt" the stones and move them down the glands and out of the passages, and barring that, has me scheduled for minor surgery to have the stones removed. He has assured me that it is a very simple procedure which will not be painful and should solve my problem altogether. You could not possibly understand the relief this has promised me, as I am suffering a severe deficit in sleep! Ever try to sleep through the night when closing your eyes induces a sensation of having a stick poking you in the eye? You don't want to know, believe me........Without the miracle of lots of artificial tears and Ambien, I would be wearing a straight-jacket by now.

The off-site Twin, her Hubby, and our Grandson paid us a visit for our combination Twin birthdays/our Wedding Anniversary extravaganza. THE Wife and I have been married just long enough to have trouble keeping track of exactly how long we have been married, but we think it's been 16 years now. Not that it matters all that much, since it seems we've been together forever. THE grandson is doing very well and is now a towering 5'10" in height.

THEN, it seems that the annual hurricane season has not forgotten us here in the North East corner of Florida after a couple of unusually calm years. Hurricane Fay is winding her merry way thru the Florida Straights, having messed with Cuba, and promising to pay us a visit after kicking around Tampa and Orlando a bit. At least the storm track seems to indicate as such. All we can do here at Pendragon Hold is batten down the hatches, put away all the wind bait scattered about the property, and hope that the storm has pretty much been worn down by the time it reaches us, as has been the experience in past near-misses. If Fay decides to skirt the landmass and approach us from over the energy-rich warm waters of the Gulf, things could get REAL dicey around here. We have our fingers crossed. Send us your best wishes and we promise to use them for all their worth!

On top of all this excitement, the iMac, my gateway to the internet and all you fine folks out there in blog land, decided to start acting weird, then refusing to boot up altogether. I attempted to boot up from the software disk, even running my hardware test utility that came with the computer, all to no avail. The hard drive refused to mount, and the test disk assured me that everything was hunky-dory with the hardware. Well, the Catholic church assured me once that Priests could be trusted, and we all know what THAT amounted to, so I decided to tear out the hard drive and install the original unit that came with the computer to see if that was what the problem was. The resulting performance was confusing, as it seemed to work but didn't really, right before the computer warned me to back everything up immediately as impending hard drive failure was right around the corner.........huh?

Well, having nothing left to lose short of having to haul the entire computer across the St Johns River, a good forty miles to the "local" Apple Store for a costly diagnostic and possible major repair, I purchased another 500 gig internal hard drive and installed it. Then, using Apple's "Time Machine" backup utility, I formated the disk and crossed my fingers. It took awhile, but it worked beautifully, restoring all my data to it's former glory, not losing one bit of information in the process! It seems that the entire malfunction was based on the hard drive going South on me. It could have been worse, based on the age of this hardy and hard working machine. Hopefully, I will have the funds saved up in a year to replace this machine with the newest model before she finally decides to give up the ghost for good. Here's a hint if you guys ever decide to go for the gold and get your own iMac or other Apple computer, now the fastest growing computer brand in the world. Get a refurbished model from the Apple store online. It will save you 2 to 3 hundred bucks and you will get a machine that's already had any problems fixed. Both of my iMacs were refurbs, and they served me very well for a very long time.

On the international scene, well, we all know that the Russian Bear is getting restless again, not having learned it's lesson the first go around that no, you cannot dominate the world. I told you from day one that Putin is following the time-honored Russian tradition of using external threats, mostly manufactured (sound familiar?) to attain dictatorial powers, and now wants to bring back the "glory" of the Soviet "Union" and all that entails. That would be very much like America invading Canada and Mexico occasionally on the pretext that we have citizens there in peril. Of course, we now know that thanks to our esteemed Commander- in- Cheek, George DUBYA Bush, there's not much we can accuse the Russians of doing that we haven't been doing a lot of lately, namely sticking our noses in places it doesn't belong. Now I'm pissed, having to take back the assertion that I and my comrades in arms actually "won" the war we were involved in, namely the "Cold War". It feels pretty chilly to me right now.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Perils of Pendragon Hold, and will return to us soon to find out if Fay, the big bad hurricane, simply clears out the deadwood in the trees our clears us out, period. Me, I'm hoping for option one.

Brake Jobs, Black Cats, and Another Day at Pendragon Hold  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Have you ever had one of those blogging sessions that you knew no matter how long it ended up, you'd probably only scratch the surface of all that you had that day to blog about? This is one of those days..........

It was a warm, humid Southern style morning that promised to become a much hotter, wetter day. It was about 7:30 and THE Wife was taking the opportunity to not to do anything, including getting out of bed. Me, it was a miracle that my dry eye was even letting me sleep as late as it did, so I got on up and decided to work my way into my old coveralls in preparation for the brake job I had to get done before the Gods of Deceleration gave up on me altogether. They can only protect us from procrastination for so long........

A cup of coffee and a gathering of the necessary tools later, I detoured to the goat pen in order to tie the complaining creatures out in the yard in order to shut them up. Goats, hungry or not, think they are starving, and must be attended to post-hast if one is to get any sonic peace. Country music almost sounds sweet in comparison to bleating goats, and I hate country music. THEN, I was able to make my way back to the car to get the job going.

As is always the case, and I have done this job numerous times on this same car already, it took me a few minutes to remember exactly how to get the brake assembly off the wheel disk and the old brake pads off. After staring and swearing and piddling and peering, I finally found the two hex bolts on the other side of the assembly that takes that special hex wrench that I ALWAYS have to go hunt down in the OTHER socket set that I can NEVER remember where I stored. Once those things were accomplished and the right side was done, I breezed right through the Left side in a quarter of the time it took me to do the first. I have no doubt that in thirty-odd thousand miles I will repeat this same, time-honored practice in exactly the same fashion, forgetting exactly the same steps I forgot this time. I think it's a guy thing.........

Once this dirty, filthy job was accomplished, I crawled back out of the coveralls (why is it so damn hard to get in and out of these things these days?) and took a shower. I HAD told THE Wife that I would take her to St. Augustine today, but taking into account the heat, other things to be done, and the expense (of which gas is a BIG contributor), we agreed we would stick closer to home and go to a discount crafts super-store in the area to look for stuff she needed for spell craft and other nefarious practices. While she was in that store, I drifted over the the super-store next door catering to pet needs to find something for my dog's itchy skin. While there, having scored some super duper flea, tick, and everything else killer which I had thought I needed a Vet prescription for, I was inexorably drawn to the side of the store that was hosting a cat adoption event. No, I was not in any mood to adopt another entitled alien parasite to house and feed. But there she was, a BLACK cat with an interesting history. Her name was, get this, Sadie Mae, and her previous owner was an elderly lady living in Waycross, Georgia, who had suffered a stroke, was forced into an "assisted living facility", and could not take her beloved Sadie with her. Fortunately, this lady had dear friends who saved the animal from a short stay at the local animal "shelter" where she would have been put to sleep (murdered) within days, who asked their friends associated with Pet Angels down here in the Jacksonville area if they could find this cat a new home. It seems that even some animals have guardian spirits if they are lucky, either that, or the love this dear old lady had for her beloved Sadie transcended all the bad things fate could offer and intervened in what could be another anonymous tragedy.

So, I walked back over to the crafts store and mentioned casually to my partner of the Witch persuasion that there was a black cat next door that she might want to go over and meet.
$55 of our hard-earned money and a lot of paper work later, we adopted Sadie and she is now here in her new home, Pendragon Hold, where cats, dogs, lizards, goats, and a widowed flying squirrel find safe haven. Funny thing, but Cricket and Shiloh, two animals who have always found indifference in each other's company, have suddenly bonded in the face of this new intrusion into their well-ordered world. Pretty damn pathetic, if you ask me. Get OVER it, you two!

Now, it's heading towards evening, I'm sitting at my trusty iMac, listening to Pagan Poet radio, and pecking out this post; the wife is working her magic in her new purple room, which the resident twin jokingly refers to as "Barney's Playhouse", and I'm hoping this night lasts a very, very long time. I like the vibes I've been soaking up this very pleasant day.

This is Alex Pendragon, AKA THE Michael, this is our story, and I'm sticking to it. Till next time, may your weekends be as pleasant as mine can sometimes be.

Ladies and Gentlemen.......  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

.......and other such persons who have frequented this blog; have I told you.....each and every one of you (yes, Buf, even YOU), how much I appreciate you for who, what, and where you are in my world for having visited here more than once?

I didn't?


Maybe one day I will........


I think I just did!


I mean it.

(Hello, my name is THE Michael, and I approved this message.)

In Defense of Self-Defense (and all that entails)  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

By voicing my opinion that deadly force is justified in the defense of life or even removal of threats from society, I received counter-opinions that killing can never be justified no matter what. I understand where these mind-sets come from, and I admire them, and the code of conduct that I have chosen to abide by also states that violence is a no-no, just like the ten commandments and various other religious laws are SUPPOSED to prohibit.

But this is the real world we live in, and the practice of non-violence under ALL circumstances goes against nature.

Yes, I can see the shock and disbelief in your eyes, but it is really quite straightforward and rational when you think about it. Since the first multi-cellular life forms first appeared in the oceans of this Earth, it's been blob-eat-blob, graduating with evolution later to the now famous dog-eat-dog. Life sustains itself for the most part by feeding upon living things different, or even similar, to itself. Thus, we have predators, we have prey, and everything in between. That is simply a fact of life and no amount of fluffy bunny denial is going to change it.

However, as mammals evolved into greater apes that could think outside the box, we actually were given the gift of actually being able to CHOOSE how we sustained ourselves, how we protected our own against predation, and even how to protect ourselves from each other. A man could choose to live in harmony with his peers or he could flout civilized dictates and prey on his fellow man, and as such could also be faced with the circumstances of doing so. Thus, we have criminals of all stripes, up to and including murderers. And, we seem to always be faced with armies of peoples wishing to do us harm or at least conquer us, killing many of us in the process as we attempt to thwart their desires. Death amongst this so-called superior species is as common as it is further down the food chain.

As we evolve into superior forms of society and government, we turn more and more of the responsibility for our protection over to police and military, but even then we are faced with those within our ranks who still wish to do us harm. The law and the police who are charged to enforce it, however, is reactive rather than proactive, that is, they can only hold those who harm us accountable AFTER the fact, which for us individually comes a little late. Thus, we still are tasked with our own safety, and we can choose to either leave ourselves open to predation, or we can choose to be ready to fight off those who would attack us.

Some would suggest that ethics or spiritual law direct us to never cause harm to another no matter what the circumstance. Jesus is most famous for this by declaring that if one strikes you, you turn the other cheek and offer them more target. Gandhi spent his whole life promoting non-violent protest, as did Martin Luther King. These were good people, with good intentions, no doubt, but I dare say that the best these fine folks could offer us are best-case scenarios of how we should strive to live. If none of us defended ourselves, there would be precious few of us left to strive for anything of value, spiritual or otherwise.

So, as a follower of a Nature-based religion, I strive to live in this world making as little negative impact upon it as I possibly can. I would never dream of assaulting another human being during the daily course of my life, even in anger, for mere anger is no justification for harming another. However, I am a pragmatist, if anything, and I dare suggest that there are selected circumstances in which harming another is fully justified, and I dare say necessary, in order for us to be able to live in a world in which we CAN practice our ethical and spiritual best-case living standard.

The first is in self-defense. Rationally, one must NEVER submit to attack if one is at all able to defend themselves, for not only are you handing over your safety or even life for no good reason, but you encourage those who prey on others to continue to do so to others, so in that regard you CONTRIBUTE to the harm of others if you do not attempt to stop this harm being perpetrated on YOU. The second is for purpose of societal safety, which includes using deadly force to stop a crazy person from attacking innocent people or using whatever force is necessary to bring a criminal to justice. Now, this does NOT mean that I support the death penalty in total, since it seems we can't count on our criminal justice system to accurately judge the guilt or innocence of the accused in our society, at least for those crimes which have not been committed out in the open in front of the whole world as witness. Until such time that we stop allowing prosecutors to railroad people onto death row on flimsy evidence and tainted juries, I cannot support a death penalty in that context. I CAN, however, support the execution of murderers whose guilt cannot be challenged by any rational standard, like the man on the bus who knifed the kid in Canada. What good is supposed to come from paying a good fifty years worth of room and board and control for this kind of creature, when we already have trouble paying for social programs for those deserving help and kindness? When is the last time we put rabid dogs or bad bears into prison to live out their last days? Are they really no less worthy? Why does your spiritual mandate not extend to them?

Non-violence is a powerful tool when used to protest injustice within a framework where such tactics will shine shame upon those who promote the injustice, and the appropriate pressures can be applied to these people by institutions within or without of said society. The British felt the brunt of this condemnation by the world as a whole, thus in time were forced by even their own good conscience to end their colonial rule of India. Martin Luther King did not receive any pity from your average white Southerner, as they suffered from a deep societal sickness that made their own sin so opaque to them, but the rest of the country was effected to such an extent that even the institutional bigotry of the deep South was tempered by the shame of it all. Thus, non-violent protest finds it's place, and can be effective, if not immediately, but ultimately.

There IS no place for sacrifice to predation. If you wish to feed evil, then you do well to encourage such behavior by providing no consequence for it. Even now, America provides no consequence to the Chinese for human rights violations, not as long as our favored children such as Walmart can find great profit in this kind of capitalistic dictatorship. There will ALWAYS be bad people doing bad things throughout the world as long as their own societies do not have the will or resources to make such behaviors unprofitable.

Here at Pendragon Hold, and anywhere within my own personal sphere of influence, I will not submit to attacks upon my person, or upon those I love. To do so would only visit such evil upon others, for it would not stop with me if I allowed this unrealistic and naive philosophy to rule my thinking. I will NOT pass it on. It stops HERE, the Gods willing.


Posted by Alex Pendragon

I watched PBS's retrospective of sixties music tonight, with a whole slew of original bands from that era. It was disturbing.

First off, it's getting a bit aggravating to have to refer to those times as an era, much like "the bronze age" or "the industrial revolution". It hints that perhaps the times being referred to were very, very long ago.

It just doesn't SEEM to me to have been that long ago, but apparently it was.....just ask your grandkids if they were in the room watching this show with you (that is, if you forced them to be).

It was bad enough that when the audience was panned with the camera, it could easily have been mistaken for a retirement home rec room; a BIG rec room, mind you, but something along those lines. Then, we saw who was playing the songs we grew up with. OLD PEOPLE.

Gasp. These were people who were not much older than us when we were groovin' to their contributions to our counter-culture revolution. But now, as though our remembrance was supposed to isolate them from the ravages of time that had befallen all of us, they appear before us as real people should.....having lived their lives pretty much like all of us did since those days, and showing it.

Iron Butterfly had to have been the worst shock to the system. The drummer was a skinny bald guy who had earned real kudos from me for even being able to pick up the sticks, much less pound those puppies like he was a twenty year old. One of the guitar players looked very much like someone's GREAT grandfather, not a rock icon by any means. But what really got me was the organ player/lead singer who had the stereotypical hippy mane very much brunette but whose face and body did NOT match the hair. It HAD to be grecian formula. What was this guy thinking..."I'm STILL a chick magnet!" ?

The years pass us by and we think they ignored us, leaving us to enjoy perpetual youth and miniskirts and tie-dye T-shirts. Well, it didn't happen. I admit, some of these hippy chicks wore well; I'd do them even now. But I know that I cannot and should not and do not want to pass for twenty something again, not after all the aches and pains I earned to be where I am today. I also like the mellow I get to enjoy, free of the frantic need to experience anything and everything 24/7 in excess. Once was enough, and I still have some stuff to try out if I can somehow manage it.

Still, I am very much looking forward to the next efforts of AC/DC, soon to be released by Walmart as has The Eagles and Journey. Now, these guys aren't QUITE as well-worn as their sixties predecessors, but I can guarantee you that kids and grandkids will still be going...."Ughhhhh......GROSS!"

Yea, we did some damn good "gross" kiddos........damn good! ROCK ON!

The Continuing Saga of NIP*  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

When in the course of events, a blog rests in the nether without a post for days on end, one must wonder if the author of said blog has abandoned his audience, or has had something terrible befallen him. I assure you that neither circumstance is the truth of it. I just haven't found anything to grouse about or report upon in the time I've had available since the last installment. Thank you for your patience.

Having finished converting the spare bedroom/sewing room/whatever-it-has-to-be room into a very purple Magik space, THE Wife has been flushing out all the stuff we've had stored in there that needs to be evicted from the Hold, as well as generally clearing up and putting the rest of the house back in order. I have to admit, this woman has a certain talent when it comes to "folk art" and setting a theme. I hope the included photos here can give you some sort of gist as how well she does this. I know that those of keener breeding would find all this somewhat gouache, but it comforts us, and WE are the ones here needing the comfort.

While out perusing the stores and the Salvation Army store, THE Wife and Resident Offspring discovered a perfect gift for me, the one who has a particular affection for anything "Green Man". And, as usual, the Offspring has this uncanny ability to find clothing there that does NOT look like budget store cast-offs. I never could handle frequenting the Good Will or such places, especially flea markets, as I have a Lexis sensibility on a Hyundai budget, which can be crippling for someone finding themselves in the lower middle class. I even decided to start a modest savings account to save for the next iMac computer I'm going to have to replace this model with come time that this one either burns out on me or I can no longer use effectively due to obsolescence. My last computer was the original iMac, a "Bondi-Blue Model" that was state-or-the-art when I bought it, but after a long run that ran well into technical obsolescence, it finally gave up the ghost and I was gleefully "forced" to get this sweet baby, my iMac G-5 flat panel wonder that even now, as powerful and capable as she is, has already been superseded by the new intel models that trump it in power and capability. Next year....next year.......but, I digress........I hate flea markets because for all the "bargains" they claim to promote, I have never seen a more concentrated collection of junk and crap that never should have been manufactured to begin with, considering the precious resources that have been wasted in the process. I dream of a day when our "consume everything" culture can be curbed and we can put this phenomenon to rest once and for all. And yes, my Green Man wind chime probably fits that bill as well.

I am still very disturbed by the incident on the bus in Canada, and as much as I hate using this as an example, it IS a perfect example of a situation that could have been cut short if someone on that bus had been legally armed with a concealed handgun. And why the Canadian police didn't put this animal down as he continued to desecrate the body of his victim is beyond me......I'm sure that in any jurisdiction down here, that would have been more than enough excuse to exercise deadly force, or at least a few million volts of taser.

My problem with my left eye continues. Nothing we've tried so far, including Restasis, has had any effect and I am losing a lot of sleep with my eye drying out and now a new symptom in the form of a lump or bump under my upper eyelid seems to be developing. I have had to take some of my wife's sleeping pills just to get past the sensation. So, I have decided to get serious and have made an appointment with an Ophthalmologist. No disrespect to the "Optometric Physician" I have seen so far, but I think I really need some heavy-weight help here before I either go nuts for lack of sleep or even lose my eyesight. Well wishes are more than welcome.

The goats have had their fill of yard growth (no, we have no real "lawn" here at Pendragon Hold, for lawns are really nothing more than artificial constructs requiring artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and lots of work) and are now back in their pen resting out the rest of the hot and humid day. Lola, the outside cat with identity problems, just plops herself down wherever it strikes her and sleeps thru the heat, while the other animals enjoy the cooler weather here inside. Our daily thunderstorm hasn't happened yet today but the day is not yet over. When I finish here I need to go out and harvest some of these late-season lima beans to serve with whatever I can dig out of the freezer tonight for dinner. Gods, help me, I think I'm a house-husband.........

That's the latest from Pendragon Hold, where the women are strong, the men enduring, and the offspring a bit better than average. Thanks for stopping by.

Oh, almost forgot.......(* Nothing In Particular)