For Rick Neece and Dan Jensen

All of us wishing y’all many more years of love and happiness.

The Cow and the Dog (a Fable)

The cow and dog were best friends. They had been close companions for longer than any of the other animals could remember. Even the draft horse was unable to recall a time before this great friendship.

“I am pleased to see such harmony,” the draft horse said, “but it is unusual just the same. No good can come of it.”

The donkey said nothing and continued feeding. He cared only for fodder and pulling his little cart. The barn cat did not speak—she believed herself to be invisible and did not want to reveal her position. The chickens scratched and hopped around the dusty courtyard in front of the stock barn. They didn’t say anything because they are so incredibly small-minded and stupid.

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Neil Young with Booker T and the MGs, 2002-style

Neil Young, Booker T. Jones, Duck Dunn, and folks.

The America I want to love — and which I sometimes do.

Elephant in the Room

My heart is broke. Thank you Sheila, Joel, MGS and others for trying. I miss all y’all and the y’all who no longer show up here. I know life goes on. Folks move on. It’s all good. I guess. Still, for the record, I miss. XOR

dear clusterflock

After a conversation with a dear long-time friend who is descending into the murk of what they call dementia, I’m dazed and confused. One of many cruel details: My fading friend introduced me to the works of Iris Murdoch when I was seventeen or so.

I’m all tore up. Listening to Sandy Denny singing By the Time It Gets Dark and snuffling. But trying to smack some sense into my sorry self-pitying self.

Seeking resources above and beyond the obvious. Most especially, looking for help for LGBT couples and for alternatives to traditional nursing home settings. Where? In or near Dallas, Texas. When? Now.

Grateful for whatever thoughts you may share here on clusterflock or via our contact form.

WANTED . . . GLASS!

Posted to Dubuque Freecycle list:

I am looking for all kinds of various glass you may have to get rid of! It can be anything like old dishes, vases, candle holders, mirrors, jars, wine bottles, etc! I am not picky . . . although I would LOVE anything colored!! However I will take clear too! THANKS!

Snapshots from your orientation for child custody mediation

One of the few people there without visible tattoos

a 2 hour video filmed in the 80s, painfully relaying information that could’ve been put on a single sheet of paper, bad actors answering obvious questions: what is mediation, what if i cant get along with my ex-wife? The most heartbreaking nugget of advice to not strike or scream at the other parent during your mediation.

A ten minute break to go feed the (2 hr max) meters outside the courthouse.

The goth chick in the front row with sleeve tattoos from wrist to shoulder, still wearing both rings. Looking more sad than goth, despite her elaborate makeup.

The black grandmother in the back with her (18? 20?yo son) asking lots of questions while her son remained silent

The perverse combination of drivers ed/jury duty, with your marriage being ripped to shreds

The guy who was clearly in a multi-year saga who called the second mediator to talk to us “a cunt” under his breath.

Three fanny packs???

The guy who alternated between snoring asleep on the table and reading his bible.

The final 45 minute video – talking head interviews with children of divorced parents, narrated by an adult female talking in persona child of divorce. “Don’t use us as spies.”

April Holy Foolish Palm Sunday Interview with Patti Smith

An hour-long interview with Patti Smith, endearing and, dare I say, inspirational.

I liked her music less and less after the first brilliant album; that much said, I worshipped her when I was in my early twenties and went to see her perform every chance I had. She was brilliant live. (And I have one of her guitar picks from the Radio Ethiopia tour.)

At bottom I have always admired her terrifically. She is tremendously endearing in this interview — both genuinely, unaffectedly girlish at 65 and mature and wise.

Watch or listen to this interview even if you do so in bits and pieces or while tending to other things.

Offline Friend Request EULA

By my (for reasons that will soon become obvious) Twitter-only friend @ChrisKubica:

For those who asked, here is the EULA to be my friend

If you are my friend offline, you agree:

Heretoforwith;

Your stuff is my stuff. Your food is my food. I can sleep on your bed. I can give you kittens. I can take your kittens. I can play your music and your apps. You will provide cuddling within 4-hour’s notice. I can ride your dog even if he or she is too small when compared to my size. I can eat whatever is in your fridge or on your counter. I can sit on your counter. I can ask you questions. You will provide all answers in writing, orally and on 8-track cassette. I can wear your various clothing. I can has cheeseburgers. I can show you unicorns. I can believe in rainbows. You will believe in rainbows or pretend to believe in rainbows when I am about. I can have your milk and your jewelry. I can call you good and bad names. I can rock in your hammock and borrow your car. You may guard my house. You should buy me marshmallows. You will buy me books, read me books and lend me your books indefinitely. You will lend me everything indefinitely. You will provide me with five copies of the entire universe. . . .

If, having read the EULA, you wish to request offline friendship with Chris: Anyone also not on Facebook, feel free to use my offline Friend Request template (PDF)

Update: Unfriend Request Form

headline of the day

La. chimpanzees get pregnant despite vasectomies

The Provisional Atlas of the UK’s Larger Moths

The Provisional Atlas of the UK’s Larger Moths, published in December, is based on the first 11 million moth records collated by the National Moth Recording Scheme and represents a landmark in moth recording.

I posted this mainly because I love the title of the book, I love the idea of 11 million moth records, and I love the notion of a National Moth Recording Scheme. Also, what’s not to like about a landmark in moth recording?

From Fassbinder’s Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte (Beware of a Holy Whore)

Recommended: Both the film and the activity encouraged by Ray Charles in this scene.

Let’s go get stoned.

The Drouillard House

We often sat on the front porch of the homeplace after dinner, listening in the dark to “brother” — the oldest of mother’s siblings — talk the Bible into flesh and blood. Sometimes, the stories turned to the mansion down the road built for a southern belle who shocked Nashville society with her marriage to a Union officer in September, 1864.

Relatives and friends of Mary Florence refused to attend her wedding to Capt. James Pierre Drouillard, an Ohio native and West Point graduate. So they moved west, to the hills and hollows of Cumberland Furnance, TN. Eventually they were accepted back into the Nashville fold. In the next century, mother’s friends lived in that home. The girls would drift slowly down the three-story spiral staircase, practicing for their grownup lives. So did I, once, when mother took me there.

So I always wondered about the girls as they moved along the stairway toward long-ago beaus waiting in the foyer. Did they see the faint outlines of a man in uniform standing in shadow? A wisp of a forever love conjured by bedtime stories and the embedded memories of a magnificent old home.

Valentine message

After young Mr. B got home from school, I saw a small paper under the windshield wiper of his car. In permanent  marker it said, “You are beautiful.” Written with a flourish, signed with a heart.

not just to sell Field Notes

This made me happy.

quote out of context

Without missing a beat the maître d’ said, “February 14 is for wives, February 13 is for girlfriends and mistresses.”

hashtag meme of the day

#healthpolicyvalentines

via Tim

from the comments

Carole Corlew:

Miss Nell would start her cooking shows with, “Now as everyone knows I hate to cook so let’s get started and get out of this kitchen.”

Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America

My same friend Susan who brought us the critically acclaimed Omega Institute in Your Pants, 2010 edition today supplied the following list, from the book Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner, Dale F. Schweitzer, J. Bolling Sullivan, and Richard C. Reardon:

Sordid Snout
The Herald
Feeble Grass Moth
Dead-wood Borer
The Betrothed
The Little Wife
Serene Underwing
The Consort
Dejected Underwing
Inconsolable Underwing
Tearful Underwing
Sad Underwing
The Penitent
Sappho Underwing
Youthful Underwing
Darling Underwing
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Repost of a Post Past

Going down the rabbit-hole of Cece’s post. Great rememberies here, following “flockers.”

Carole Corlew.

The Mother Courage of Rock

She was skinny, quick-witted, disarmingly unprofessional, alternating between stand-up patter, bardic intonations, and the hypnotic emotional sway of a chanteuse, and she was sexy in an androgynous way I hadn’t encountered before. The elements cohered convincingly; she seemed both entirely new and somehow long-anticipated. For me at nineteen, the show was an epiphany.

Luc Sante on Patti Smith.

Springtime 1976, I was living in the cinderblock building on the glorified median strip there where they split Highway 13, and one day I went over to this one girl’s apartment, she lived right by the guy who dealt me speed, and she said, “Hey, you know who you remind me of? You remind me of Patti Smith!”

Gave her a possum grin I’m still grinning.

Goodbye

by Kim Noble

(Did you spot the stormtrooper?)

posted by Pete

headline of the day

A dog’s seeing eye dog

Fairies of Christmas Passed…Deconstructed

The Blue Fairies laid on the table from the tree en masse. These were created by a former greensman employee three or four years ago. I remember, as he made them, into a box-top in the backroom of the greensman offices, I entered the room he was working in. He said, as he shook the boxtop, “Look, they live! ” He giggled and grinned a grin somewhere between the grinch and the baby jesus. That vision will forever live in my heart.

The Cake That Makes Our Family

Read between the lines of an old family recipe and you’re liable to read the story of the family itself. The scrawled marginalia and cooking stains, the collective memory of shared feasts—they might as well be alleles in the genome. Maybe it’s the chicken soup your aunt makes by the gallon during flu season, or the roast your mother overcooks every Easter. Maybe, if you’re lucky, your dad has taught you the secret to a perfect Old Fashioned, which he learned from his uncle, who learned it from his bookie. For my family, the recipe that defines us as a tribe, and whose origins best reflect our idiosyncrasies, is my grandfather’s babka.

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