August 05, 2006

Gratuitous This, That and the Other Posting

* A pretty decent day here in the Northern Virginny suburbs after the most miserable week of the season, with temperatures back down into the upper 80's, much drier air and a fresh breeze from the northwest. It's still a good four or five weeks before we can seriously anticipate the first of the early fall cool fronts, but something in the air this afternoon definitely hinted, "It won't be long now....Just hold on a little while longer."

YIPS from Steve-O: Last night I found myself planning out the second wave of bean and lettuce plantings in anticipation of cooler weather, not to mention beginning the fall garden expansion plans...

* I got two weeks worth of lawn growth cut and trimmed today (it being too bloody hot to work outdoors last weekend). Actually, the lawn itself seems to largely have gone dormant. Most of the greenery coming up consists of weed of one kind or another.

YIPS from Steve-O: I've made my peace with crabgrass---it's one of God's green creatures and impressively adaptive in a Wallacian sort of way.

* Tomorrow, I tackle the garden, which needs to be weeded before we head out. I am happy to say that I did not lose control of it this year. It's true that the place is not looking its best - it still has some filling out to do, I still need to plant some more and most of what ought to be blooming right now got pretty badly cut up by the deer - but for the first time I don't have that feeling of defeat, of simply not being able to keep up with things anymore.

YIPS from Steve-O: We're knee deep in tomatos. This week we had gazpacho twice as well as a huge thing of salsa I made yesterday. Anyone have any good salsa recipes let me know.

* Speaking of filling out, is it my imagination or are the crepe myrtles doing especially well this year? I don't know if it was some particular combination of sun and rain in the area, but every one I see (including my own) is very heavily laden with flowers, more so than I recall previously.

YIPS from Steve-O: Yes, they are.

* And now for something completely different: On our trip up to Maine, we'll be stopping off in Connecticut to spend a night with the Missus' parents. While there, I am hoping to meet up with the Random Penseur for an adult beverage or two. The sizeable gap between thems what blog and thems what don't was amply illustrated when I broached my plan to the Missus, who was a bit puzzled that I'd be meeting up with a complete stranger based solely on our reading and commenting on each other's sites. However, she evidently was not concerned that RP might turn out to be a homicidal maniac, because her sole question was, "Are you sure this isn't some hot chick?"

YIPS from Steve-O: Must. Not. Comment....

* We seem to have topped the google search list for episcopal liberalism. Not on my watch, pilgrim. Actually, I've been thoroughly enjoying church this past month: during the summer, we cut back from three Sunday morning services to two, combining the 9 AM and 11 AM. During the regular year, the 9 AM service, which we attend as it is recognized as the "family" service, is almost invariable Rite II. The 11, which is attended by the older, more conservative crowd, is almost always Rite I. Well, for whatever reason of parish politics, the combined summer services are all Rite I, and I have been indulging myself in the archaic beauty of the language and, more importantly, in the emphasis on atonement and redemption. The Rite II Eucharist tends to suppress this because it gets in the way of the theme of Jesus as Mankind's Buddy and Let's Everybody Have A Big Ol' Group-Hug. Rite I will have none of this, instead emphasizing - gasp! - Mankind's fallen state and the role of Jesus as Savior and Advocate on our behalf.

* I've just finished reading Francis Parkman's The Conspiracy of Pontiac, about the 1763 Indian uprising against the British. Powerful, mesmerizing, horrifying stuff: the trecherous destruction of half a dozen British frontier forts and garrisons, the sieges of Detroit and Fort Pitt, the Battle of Bushy Run (fought this date, by the way), the Paxton Boys, the depredations of the Indians along the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and the inane self-rightious posturing of the Quaker-dominated Pennsylvania Assembly while settlers along the frontier were being tomahawked and scalped by the hundreds, the foolishness of Amherst and Braddock, the heroism of Col. Bouquet and Henry Gladwin, the wisdom of Sir William Johnson. The list goes on.

I've never really understood why American colonial history doesn't receive more attention in our educational system, particularly in that it is almost impossible to truly understand the motivations of the Crown and the Colonists in the 1770's if one doesn't understand their relationship during the critical 1750's and 60's. In light of what went on at that time, issues such as self-governance, military protection and taxation get a whoooooole lot more complicated and much less easy to fit into the traditional Tyrannical King George vs. Freedom-Loving Amuricans model of the Revolution, as taught in our schools.

Unless, of course, that's the idea. In which case, never mind.

YIPS from Steve-O: You've hit the nail on the head, unfortunately, that the Proclamation of 1763 was emminently reasonable and that the response to it was, what's the word I'm going for, ah yes, a wee bit immature and disproportional.

Robbo, I've got a great book for you on the seven years war if you are interested. Also, I sent a separate email flogging Mark Helperin's Freddy and Fredericka as a great summer read for you. Just saying.

* I watched the last hour or so of Titanic on HBO last evening. What a load of crap. Then I watched a bit of The Hunt For Red October. Know my favorite scene in this movie? When the crew of the October start singing as she tries out her silent propulsion drive and the voices steadily change from those of the crew to a real choir. There is something very moving about Russian and even Soviet music - a sense of sadness, an almost subconscious acknowledgement of how terrible things are, coupled with the resolve to see them through anyhow. Russian history is a long catalog of (mostly self-inflicted) awfulness. What's heroic about the Russians isn't the greatness that their civilization has achieved. Rather, it's the fact that they didn't collectively roll over and give up a long time ago.

YIPS from Steve: My favorite thing about that scene is the look on Courtney B. Vance's face as he's listening to that, and trying to explain how to explain to Scott Glenn that he thought he heard singing...... Courtney Vance's Jonesy and Scott Glenn's Commander Bart Mancuso are the secret gems of that movie, that overcome the craptacular casting of Alec Baldwin, a Lithuanian submariner legend who speaks with a burr, and Naval Academy fixture Mr. Rooney.

Posted by Robert at August 5, 2006 05:06 PM | TrackBack

Rite I rocks! If I'm going to sit through Sunday services all a-vertigoed from my bad habits I want some High liturgy with my wine. Rite II is for liberals, hydroencephalytics, and the sexually questioning.

Posted by: Velociman at August 5, 2006 06:53 PM

I have been to Bushy Run! (See, I'm not just about the Civil War.)

And just last weekend I was at Ft. Laurens.

Posted by: GroovyVic at August 6, 2006 07:31 AM

Did you read Hunt for Red October, or is Clancy below you? I thought the movie was a poor adaptation of the book. Knowing your general response to movie adaptations, I'm guessing you didn't read the novel (which is much better and much more suspenseful than the movie).

Posted by: JohnL at August 7, 2006 11:50 AM