Here is a repository of the texts of my together with some readings of them.
The essays were broadcast by WXXI 91.5 Classical of Rochester, NY on Salmagundy each Saturday at 9:35am Eastern Time, from the beginning of time (1985) till May 2009 when Entropa (evil Goddess of Change-for-the-Worse-or-Possibly-the-Worst) troubled the minds of the WXXIites and they retired Simon and Salmagundy, and Rochester went into a terminal decline---for ever.
But I do continue on that brilliant bastion of all that's good and kultured, on WCLV's syndicated Weekend Radio on many (mainly NPRish) stations traditionally on the first and third weekends of the month, though your weekendage may vary, (these are archived for a couple of months).
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|My dear Americans (well this IS supposed to be a letter and "Muh Fellow 'Mer'cns" seems far too presidential, and anyway I can't really do the accent). |
My dear Americans,
we (Georgia, Buddy and I) have been over in the UK now for more than three months and, and--- I'm starting to miss Texas: now I'm sure I could hear the combined gasps from four thousand miles away if I open the window. The "You must be joking!"s, "What the—"s and the like expressions of disbelief and horror from most non-Texans (and from quite a few Texas residents too). And, yes, I do remember that when some in the state had a poll on seceding there were a lot more yes-votes from those outside its borders than inside.
|I fear this essay is going to completely destroy the caring, sensitive, nature-loving, liberal cred that (with a few exceptions) I have carefully developed and nurtured over the decades, but... but... I have just got to admit that I absolutely hate, despise, loathe, would happily chop up into little tiny bits and then make up rude songs about so-called ...seagulls. Oh! I suppose I have to admit that they may look sort of graceful as they fly, but that is only until they open their beaks or their bottoms and all Hell breaks loose, then they almost make pigeons or vultures look cute and loveable. |
|I might have mentioned in my last letter that our move to the UK has involved a certain amount of redecorating, of which I am only trusted with what might well be called "The Grunt Work". This activity is so called because of the noises made by the actor whilst, for example, straining to detach baseboards (or more properly 'skirting-boards' since they are English ones) from the bricks they are nailed to by enormous nails of the species called 'cut nails' which are probably so called in their turn because of their effect on the actor's fingers.|
|(with Apologies to )|
Well, here we are: Georgia, Buddy the dog and I, more-or-less settled in the more-or-less United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (though I suddenly wonder. Shouldn't that be 'more-or-less United Queendom' rather than Kingdom nowadays?—Perhaps there is an official gender for ...um... them to go with their personal one, like their official birthday to go with their personal one: I mean what do you give to the person who has several whole countries?).
|For a long time I used to go to bed early1, but now, Yay, wake up call!|
The British Emporium2 finally opened a shop down in Richardson (six miles closer to Dallas than us and right next to the equally ethnic 'Fish and Fizz' fish and chip shop), so Georgia and I went to check it out after, of course, enjoying their neighbour's genuine, traditional British "cod and six-penn'orth o' chips" (allowing, that is, for the rate of exchange, inflation and the absence of British newspaper wrappings), and then, joy of joys, I got myself a genuine can of genuine Heinz baked beans just like Mum used to buy back in genuine old England— genuinely!
is the closest I come to a motto, slogan, catchphrase or what-have-you, and I even have the teeshirt to prove it.
|Once upon a time, long ago and quite possibly in a galaxy far, far away, products were advertised by what they contained: for example I remember an advert from the aforesaid time and place with the tag line "full of nourishing marrowbone jelly" (I believe this was for some sort of dog food, but if it wasn't then "Ewww-ww-w!")1|
Even if this superfluity was of intangible things, like the Turkish Delight candy "Full of Eastern promise"2, or even allusively as when "just a little dab'll do ya"3 has the certain implicature that that dab is just chock full of nourishing promise, or even if it's just the boring old sex-appeal that it filled the potential user with—it was the contents or additives that seemed to add contentment to the customer.
|First1, at least as far as we know, there was the Old English poem which we now call Beowulf. This told the story of three great fights between its eponymous and indeed onomastic hero: in hall, mere and slot; against monster, mum and dragon (and quite a few rather meh! fights between mere humans) and tells it largely from a Beowulfian perspective, then later, much later, there came Martin Gardener's great novel Grendel which, surprisingly considering its name, told Grendel's story.|
|The birds that lurk around our back patio down here in Texas are like that (I'm sure completely undeserved) stereotype of the American Tourist Abroad, you know demanding, aggressive, loud and, if Georgia has anything to do with it (the way she ladles out the bird seed and bark butter), overweight. And we have SO many different species, crabby cardinals, bossy blue jays, grotty grackles, rather cute finches of a reddish hew, one wren, two different types of woodpecker (leading me to ask 'How much wood would a woodpecker peck if a woodpecker pecked with his pecker?' and don't you wish I hadn't? ), dozy doves by the dozen (or as we call them pigeons), on occasion and when the rest are, for some inexplicable reason absent, a Cooper's hawk, and of course grillions of sparrows chirping noisily away: which, were I Dr Doolittle, I would understand to be saying: 'hello bird', 'hello other bird' 'hello other other bird' 'Now sod off the lot of you! This is my food! Mine!! MINE!!!' and so forth.... [over RudeBird1] they are SO demanding, I swear I recently heard one , probably at me and certainly for not adding extra bird seed and bark butter to the vast heaps Georgia leaves them.|
But, in spite of their noisy demands, this essay is in fact NOT about those fat and angry birds!
So let's forget those evil little buggers, 'cause actually it is about this:
|Thank you for asking, but actually I've been doing quite well during the Apocovidalypse---at least as far as health is concerned. I've been out in the traditional shorts, singlet and face mask every morning, walking four or five miles at a brisk Roman Legionary Pace above 4 milia passuum an hour, and it's having an effect. I'm losing weight and I'm feeling fit but, but... well I'm not sure if this is appropriate for a family programme such as this, but...but wearing shorts and walking I've...I've ... ... started to pay attention to my knees! |
And I have realised that I have Old Guy Knees.
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