THE Brink  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Here we are again. You want to reach out and touch, just barely, that thin, shadowy boundary, that membrane between our rational, everyday reality, the demons we know and deal with daily, and that utter madness, the inconceivable horror that lies just on the other side. Yes, you know what I speak of. Right now we call it PANDEMIC. Russians and Somalis misbehaving, that we could ignore, till some of it bit into our own, and even then three short, sharp shocks killed three would-be buccaneers and the deal was negotiated. Most of us are mere paychecks away from tent cities, but we face away from that too, too tired of worrying about it to keep us from asking all those questions we SHOULD be asking ourselves, like why in the hell are we sitting in bumper to bumper hell in vehicles that cost more than our parent's houses?

This thing I speak of goes by many other names, under many under circumstances, and is played out in myriad scenarios, but we all know it as THE BRINK. We stood there in 1812 as friends, family, and loved ones fell around us like autumn leaves, a death that our own murder in the shape of WWI could not match. We stood there as Kennedy and Kruschav stood toe to toe and played "who blinks first" with an arsenal of nuclear weapons. And, we've been edging up to it for decades now, ignoring the flocks of canaries warning us of impending environmental collapse, not a problem you can send to committee for recommendations. However, there have been two really "neat" scenarios we have been warned of that could very well save this planet by putting a serious dent in our own human population, which has become the pox upon this land. The one is the big chunk of space rock that slams into us and educates us on how every damn dinosaur died on this planet all at once. The other is the superbug, the super-flu, Captain Trips, the biological ass-kicking to end all ass-kicking. SARS was the first really bad scare of this era, but that was only a precursor of the easily transmitted flu bug that enjoys taking out healthy young folks with strong immune systems rather than the very young or very old. That one seems to have arrived. So what will we do about it?

Well, first, as humans are prone to do, we will not stop international travel to help stop the spread of the bug, because that would be inconvenient. We have never been known to take stern measures until OVERKILL is the only remaining measure we CAN take. We always take the path of least resistance first, and THAT is what is going to kill us. So, hunker down my friends, because even now, people are traveling with a bug that loves to share, to mutate, and do what it was designed to do.......KILL it's hosts.

This is THE Michael, standing by on the brink, hoping all of you, my friends, are the lucky ones, the new citizens of a brave new world much less populated than it used to be............

Resurrection and other Miscellaneous Miracles  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Hello and welcome to the Friday edition of the Chronicles of Pendragon Hold. This post was created with the assistance of a computer resurrected from the dead, thus it is Christlike and everything posted here from now on is gospel.

It all started with a very brief power surge which caused many of our electronic gizmos and whiz-bangs to reset, turn off, or otherwise wonder what happened. The IMac, which is the center of our electronic presence in the universe, popped off and the screen turned that deathly shade of black. Oh well, I think, guess I have to hit that button on the backside and start her back up again. Only THIS time nothing happened.....nothing at ALL. It just sat there acting rather inanimate. Like, sorry dude, but I've moved on to that G-5 afterlife. You know how you keep pushing an elevator button after the first time thinking doing it again is going to make things happen any quicker? That was me, desperate..........

THE Wife was heading out the door to work when this happened, suggesting that I might want to take her to work to have the car to.....what? Like we have the money to replace whatever got fried inside the computer? This baby is LONG out of warranty. I couldn't understand this; she IS plugged into a surge protector, so what's the deal?

So, being a man, genetically unable AND unwilling to just let this go without a fight, I unplugged her power cord and plugged it back in. Nothing. I started pulling USB and Firewire and all manner of cables from her backside until I got to the last one, the Ethernet cable, and BING!

Just as I pulled that cord, she restarted, just like THAT!


And here I am, blogging on a perfectly fine Apple IMac, as though nothing happened. Well, these things might have their quirks, but in the end, an Apple always comes bouncing back, under circumstances that make most PC's spaz out and walk themselves to the landfill. Which is good because it's going to be awhile before I can afford a replacement. And NO, I will NOT settle for a $299 excuse for a computer just to get back online quicker. If need be, I'd shell out for a Mac Mini just to hold me over till I COULD afford to acquire another IMac, the best desktop made for any amount of money. Hell, this G-5 is so old now that a new Mac Mini would probably run circles around her. That's progress.

In OTHER news...........The terrace (herbs and assorted beans and other veggies) is looking beautiful as is the "bag garden" of tomatoes in the back forty. Yesterday I put in some posts and a stretch of fence reused from the old goat pen fence to support the loofah we'll be planting out by the tomatoes. In case you can't place the word, loofah is a zucchini or cucumber-like fruit that allowed to mature and dry out makes those cool and durable bath sponges they sell in stores, all natural and better than an plastic substitute. Harvested while young, the spaghetti-like insides can also be eaten. See, you leave it to Mother Nature and you can find a natural substitute for just about anything we make these days. We've just developed this arrogant attitude that we can make superior products out of petroleum and/or plastics when truth be told we only end up making things that break anyway and end up in landfills poisoning the environment. Hell, I bet we could make computer cases out of bamboo that would last just about as long as the plastic we use now. I do know one thing, if we don't start getting back to renewable resources, the crap we rely on now will be the death of us all.

What am I saying......the crap we've been using IS killing us........

Well, THE Wife's neck and shoulder problem is back full blown and it's back to BOTOX injections to treat it with again. Her neurologist had referred her to a neurosurgeon thinking a surgical approach to the problem might be possible, but it was deemed not bad enough. At least compared to the risk of surgery. Sigh.....

The septic mound is now a nice shade of green as the clover seed has all sprouted and is growing. My hope is that it stabilizes the sand and provides some nice graze for the goats. I also hope that this summer is nice and wet and not to hot, but this spring was so nice I can't help thinking it is simply a harbinger of a very hot summer. Already there have been wildfires in South Carolina which wiped out some neighborhoods. This country wasn't always catching fire every summer, but we may end up referring to summer as "the burning times". hehe..........what goes around........

Meanwhile, over in Pakistan, a very backwards country full of angry muslims and nuclear weapons, the Taliban have boldly gone forth and begun to occupy more and more territory while the Pakistani army seems hell-bent on acting like nothing is happening. Personally, I think the army would rather the country be taken over by the crazies than to allow a democracy to flourish. I imagine the military would rather not have to deal with uppity wives. Thus, I think we have a situation where we had BETTER suggest to Pakistan that they either deal with the militants aggressively, or we will back India and give them a free hand in dealing with the situation as they see fit, which I imagine would be going in and taking out those nuclear facilities before the Islamists get their hands on them. Gods know that India has taken enough shit from these rag heads.

Oh, and our fresh water is running out, and what we do have left is chock full of hormones, pharmaceuticals, PCB's. and various other chemicals doing strange things to us and the wildlife. So, it stands to reason to assume that those who are responsible for this mess despise their children and want them all to die of strange ailments or suffer from chronic diseases or deformities. Yep, think about it....what CEO of one of these myriad poison factories would continue to rake in the cash knowing his own children and grandchildren were going to pay the price right along with the rest of us? What, you think they don't KNOW? Really? Yea, right. Can you spell MONSTER? I spell it FUCKINGBASTARD myself.

Thus we come to the end of another exciting episode of The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold, that little acre of sand on the outskirts of civilization, waiting nervously for the next wildfire, hurricane, or monster meteor, and loving every minute of else you gonna do?

Rant #3753-B  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I am an avid listener of NPR, one of the very few places where intellect is respected more than blind emotion. I know that most people believe fervently that news is reported with a slant dependant upon who delivers that news, and every time I watch FOX cable news for any length of time I want to believe that. FOX does not report "news" so much as manufactures it. The "tea parties" they have been "covering" is a case in point. These are people who are supposedly protesting the "tax increases" that the Obama administration is imposing, or is going to impose, upon them, supposedly your average joe.


The very people who for the first time in at least eight years are actually going to experience a tax BREAK, are outraged that these godless liberals are going to raise their taxes, take away their guns, force their daughters to have abortions, and all manner of bullshit propaganda that is the hall mark of the Karl Rove politics of desperation. Then you watch the continuing meltdown of the Palin dynasty, as the young, brash (I'll kick your ass) redneck who knocked up Bristol comes clean with the media in an effort cleanse himself of the stain the whole sordid affair has put upon him, as though he was some sort of innocent bystander in the Republican cluster fuck of the century. All the while our president keeps his cool and tends to business as best he can with these conservative pit bull puppies latched onto his ankle, not sure whether to hump his leg or chew on it.

Meanwhile the climate continues to warm.

Yes, first NPR reports the news in a simple and straightforward manner, in a responsible journalistic manner, and THEN you will hear some analysis of said news, and that's where the "liberal" slant is said to come in. When fox reports on something, it is usually reported as "those damn liberals did this awful thing or that awful thing", while NRP will simply report what occurred, then usually allow commentary on what happened by "experts" from both sides of the aisle. Problem here is that if what happened was clearly something that made a conservative look bad, then it's the "liberal media" slanting the news again. The "conservative" media either flat avoids reporting the embarrassing event to begin with or tries to spin it around to somehow deflect the blame of the occurrence back on liberals. THAT is not journalism. It's something more akin to the Bath party news at it's best. So, please, if it quacks like a duck, quite trying to make it sound like an opera singer. It's nauseating.

I can tell you, I am damn grateful now to have not wasted more years than I did pursuing higher education if the result is the like of those who practice "journalism" and pursue politics the way these morons in the conservative movement do. I do not have an advanced degree in physics or biology, yet the logic and simple truth of evolution is quite clear to me. I have no problem separating the bullshit from the evidence piling up concerning global warming; perhaps not having my wealth dependent on planetary rape and pillage lends me a certain clarity of vision and thought. Perhaps my immunity from the outlandish dogma of organized religion has freed me from the fear of their "God", allowing me to approach the questions of life by seeking honest answers.

And no, my liberal friends have not earned a "get out of jail free" card. Sometimes the word asinine best describes the lack of pragmatism demonstrated by those who want to sing Kumbaya, hold hands, and hold no one responsible for the evils we are awash in. New age mumbo-jumbo does not replace Catholic guilt nor does it do a better job of making people pay more attention to their planet and less to some heaven above. Rapture will not solve our problems; recognizing our problems and fucking DOING something about a damn sight better than denial and putting it off until the afterlife.

Look, it appears that the rapture isn't going to happen anytime soon, so could all of you waiting on it please just shoot your fucking selves and get off our planet? You're really stinking the place up.....really........

P.S. PLEASE go here and listen.


Posted by Alex Pendragon

The sun settles into a golden evening here at Pendragon Hold. I watch the rednecks racing their pickups down the dirt road still muddy and rutted from last night's rainstorms, wondering why humans can't seem to get from point A to point B without all the juvenile drama. All over the landscape is littered with fresh green leaves blown off the trees by today's high winds, joining the dead branches liberated from same said tall giants. This is fresh, clean smelling day in the life of two pagans living on the outskirts of Americana.

I, your run-of-the-mill homo sapiens, have been laid low by a mere pygmy goat. Having replaced the entire perimeter of the goat pen with high-quality woven fencing, I thought that I had put an end to her little amazing escapes........only to turn around while working in the yard to see a very happy-go-lucky goat on the mound where she shouldn't....hell....COULDN'T be! I put her back. I examined the pen all along the wire. Nothing. No breaks, no space beneath, no sign of an escape route. I go back to work. She does it AGAIN! I put her back. I examine the gate more closely. Maybe somehow she could have gotten up and over the open top of the gate or maybe even thru the bottom held shut with a bungee cord. I find myself a bent stick and shove it between the gate bottom and a board I have across the bottom. I go out to the shade garden and sit and I watch.

Sure enough, little Ms Houdini strolls up to the gate, puts her head down, and proceeds to (attempt to) bulldoze her way through that gate bottom, a very tight squeeze indeed but I have come to accept that these guys can cram alot through some very small spaces. MYSTERY SOLVED! The stick kept the bottom of the metal gate from bending outward, putting an end to her magic act! Give a human long enough, and he can outsmart even the smartest ungulate!

The newly replanted tomato and pepper garden is off to a good start, and the the terrace garden is doing us proud. But, my real pride and joy right now is the clover seed I spread on the mound last week which is now sprouting. Hopefully, this cover crop will thicken up real good and provide a good forage for the goats as well as improving the condition of the sand with it's nitrogen-fixing talents. The clover on the mound is New Zealand White, but I also have some Mammoth Red I plan to sow in the garden area come fall to improve that area for future crops.

I have two major projects left for this summer; replacing the property fence, and building the chicken coop. The fence HAS to be replaced due to the damage from drunk redneck neighbors and goats who constantly push the envelope. AND, in our quest to be as self-sufficient as possible, raising chickens will help in so many ways, including healthy, organic free-range eggs, meat, and garden pest control, not to mention the rich manure for the garden. I have no need whatsoever for the unnatural poisons offered by the chemical companies, relying instead on nature's way of doing things. Even now, farmers in India are finding out that the increased production made possible by super-seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides have come at a now unsustainable cost. All this stuff is expensive, and the water table is dropping due to the insatiable thirst of these crops for water which is being used at ever increasing and unsustainable rates, not to mention the poisoning of the earth with all these chemicals. Science is not the real problem here; it's the WRONG kind of science, and the evil influence of the profit motive.

OK, as usual, this is days later after starting this post and I still haven't gotten it posted, but it's a lazy Friday afternoon and I have plenty of time to finish this up and get it online.

Have any of you heard this remarkable lady who showed up on "England's Got Talent" (Remember our OWN "America's got talent"?) and blew the socks off everybody who heard her sing? Simon Cowle of "American Idol" fame is also on this panel of judges and even HE was effected. If you haven't seen the video already, you MUST. This "not-so-beautiful", rather salt-of-the-earth Scottish woman of 46 years walks out on stage and everybody is rolling their eyes, wondering what horrible sounds she's going to inflict them with, only from the first note, she astonishes everybody with the most beautiful voice most anybody has heard in a long time. The audience was on their feet, applauding her through the entire performance. It was indeed a humbling experience. AND, on top of all that, it turns out that way back in 1999, this same woman recorded a version of a song called "Cry me a River" that is equally, amazingly good, only nobody really noticed it, as it was included on a CD recorded for charity. You can hear both of these songs on YouTube. So go there, already!

The weather today is just fantastic! THE Wife has had another bout of shoulder and neck pain that required a visit to the doctor for shots and a day off from work, so she's been here with me today relaxing and trying to recover. It's a very pleasant 74 degrees with steady breezes that make the trees dance and the wind chimes play a symphony, and the birds are lending their calls to the music of nature.

Tomorrow we will be having company over for dinner and wine and whatever might come of sitting around a fire in the shade garden.

I'm sorry these episodes have been so few and far between, but since I stopped ranting about all the horrible things we do to each other, I haven't had alot to write about, since life around the Hold has been peaceful and relatively uneventful. Actually, I am rather appreciative of the fact that I haven't had to report much in the way of hardship, and I am NOT going to complain about that! I fully realize that misfortune can come out of nowhere and bite us in the ass, so I am going to fully enjoy and appreciate the relatively good times we now enjoy, knowing full well that our fellow citizens all over this country are not doing so well, wether it be foreclosure of their homes or loss of their jobs. I ask of all of you to support our talented new President and give him the support he needs to get us out of the mess that last cluster fuck of an administration left him to straighten out.

That's what's happening at the Hold! Blessed Be!

Fencing, Anyone?  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It's been a busy and interesting week here at Pendragon Hold, our little acre of sand on the edge of suburbia. Having seen my new garden all but wiped out by our little four-legged Houdini, and finally having seen a paycheck clear and sufficient to purchase the necessary materials, and thanks to a weekend of clear weather, I have finally strung up the new woven wire fence around the goat pen and put an end to the escapades of Sorcha, the low-riding four-legged escape artist. It took me both days to set the posts and stretch the wire, but the deed is done, and we also purchased new veggies for the garden to replace the casualties. THE Wife made a special little veggie "CCU" at one end of the terrace garden to give the eaten and severely damaged plants a place to rest and possibly continue to grow, so that they might yet fulfill their destiny and not go quietly into that dark night without having produced the fruits of their purpose. They deserve that second chance, doncha think?

This also marks the occasion of THE Resident Twin finally striking back out on her own, having saved up enough money to land herself a new apartment.. We, of course, have mixed feelings about this. We lose the rent, yet we gain the ability to romp around naked in our abode when ever it strikes our fancy. Not having had our fancy struck for awhile, this being by ourselves seems strange, but we have to remember that this is actually what NORMAL is supposed to be like. We wish her all the best, and hope that she can rely on lessons learned, like all of us do throughout our lives. She remains close enough and she knows we are always here for her.

Remember that tree I was trying to bring down? It's still there. Only a storm brought down the massive limb I had sawed halfway thru but couldn't pull down on my own. This piece of the tree was SO big, matter of fact, that I received a frantic call at work by THE Wife informing me that THE Resident Daughter had called HER and said that a tree (not a big limb, but a whole tree) had come down in the road and was blocking it. Under the impression that the tree had actually been uprooted and brought down on the road, my fence, and possibly the power lines, I told my supervisors I had a dire emergency at home that required my immediate attention. I rushed home to discover that this "tree" was in fact only that limb I'd been trying to fell myself, and the damage wasn't quite as bad as reported. It HAD put a sizable dent in the fence, but it was not blocking the road or affected the power lines. So, within maybe 15 minutes with the help of my trusty electric chain saw, I had the wood chopped up and taken out of the way, no really bad harm done. Then, I was back at work within the hour and finished out my shift for the day. It COULD have been worse but thank the Gods, it wasn't.

On our way to "THE Depot" for one of many supply runs, THE Wife happened to notice that someone had placed several concrete and/or plaster garden statues out by the road for whoever to take. She got me to stop on the way back and she asked the man working around the property if they were indeed being rid of, and he said they were, so now THE Wife has in her possession a nice gnome (the one in the blue hat) and an old fisherman, who she has given a new pole. This is the essence of recycling, and no good Wiccan worth their salt are going to allow a perfectly good gnome to suffer the fate of the landfill. Having "rescued" him, she feels this creature owes her. Still, I have this thing about gnomes, so, one false move, and the gnome gets it!

Does anybody remember the fairy house out in the shade garden? THE Wife has given it an extreme makeover and now the resident fairy has new digs. Dig?

She also got ME a new hummingbird feeder. Yea, that's what I always wanted, a new hummingbird feeder. I wonder if a certain someone wanted a new hummingbird feeder even more than I did? Hmmmmm?

Well, Spring has certainly sprung like crazy here at the Hold; the weather has been wonderful, and all these green growing things are off to a great start. I have more than enough projects to keep me busy this summer, the only restraints being money and weather, but I don't think I'll be idle all that often.

And I'm feeling to good about life right now to ruin it with a rant, so hang in there and perhaps I'll start one during some future episode of The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold, where all the women are handsome, the men good looking, and gnomes that behave themselves find sanctuary. Blessed Be!