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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|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?).
|Don't panic! |
Whatever you do don't follow the dictates of that old rhyme:
When in danger ....or maybe you should, because, finally, the most dreadful thing in the whole World has happened. Conkers is under attack!!
Or in doubt,
Run in circles,
Scream and shout!
|Speaking as a Br who Exited much, much more than fifteen years ago I suppose I have absolutely no right to comment on the horribly portmanteaued ‘Brexit', so here goes…|
|With all the media attention on Scotland’s wanting, for at least the last year or so to be “a nation once again” (though maybe that was Ireland?…) — but, but apart from that there’s all that nonsense from the SNP who want to be their own little Parti Quebequois in memory of the Auld Alliance, so just to be safe I’ve been embracing my Scottish side of late. |
My wife and I have even been going to the odd Caledonian event down here in Texas, that land of all things Scottish. The last one was, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed a Burns’ Nicht Supper celebrating Scotland’s national poet.
|As I'm writing this I don't know if Scotland has voted for independence or not, but you, lucky people, being up-when of me have all the facts—but it doesn't really matter what you know, or what happened, or how they voted, or indeed anything, because the floodgates are obviously swinging wide open (or whatever it is floodgates do) and this is merely one more tentative step (or one more demure hiccough) on a road that started way back around 1920 with a dose of un-Irishing and of late has accelerated, via some really rather irrelevant empire-sloughing, to our modern paroxysms of devolution. |
|I've just come back from England, where we went to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday.|
|Britons, especially the English, and even especially-er English men, love their tea and their beer. It's the closest they come to having a religion. |
But in America on the other hand we have traditionally, since our very beginning, nay even before our very beginning, had a totally different THING about tea, so that now-a-days all hot tea (or, more accurately, vaguely warmish tea) served in America tastes to this ex-Englishman exactly as though it came straight out of Boston Harbour.
Iced tea here is a bit better, just about drinkable, or rather it would be if they didn't flavour it with raspberries or fish giblets or whatever they do.
So that finally I am pushed, protesting, towards American beer, the only thing is that most American beer tastes as... as if it were pre-owned, probably by a little old lady who just used it for shopping.
Of course in some things the British are just as bad as you, but in their own way: English Cream Tea for example: tea, and scones and jam and thick, thick clotted cream and arteries to match—sort of cardiac arrest on a bun. And, sadly, the Pub, home to countless generations of English men, seems of late to be dwindling, with a terrifying percentage of them closing each year, in the face of unEnglishmanly reality shows on the telly and cheap booze in the supermarket. But even in these days of the apparent death throes of the pub, that's where the Briton shines and where we leave you guys in the dust, and talking of dust...
|I hate crowds, especially really excited crowds, not to mention the downright hysteria that so often surrounds them, so when I planned this year’s visit to the UK, I made a point of carefully avoiding the crowds and the excitement, not to mention the downright hysteria surrounding the upcoming London Olympics. Foolishly, however, I completely forgot to avoid the crowds and the excitement, not to mention the downright hysteria surrounding the Queen’s Jubilee! Completely missed the fact that my oh-so-cleverly chosen Olympics-bypassing visit would have slap-bang in its middle the entire nation going gaga for a week or more, congregating in vast excited, not to mention downright hysterical crowds, simply because the present Queen is still the present Queen.|
|We have, and I'm sure that they are all official, in strict calendar sequence Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March, and we even have International Left-Handers' Day in August, on the thirteenth, and then...then just to spoil my sequence. Then... then, though I believe less official, there is the American Pi Day which is also in March, and which does not (as I bet you were thinking) celebrate the movie, or the song, or indeed the pastry, but instead, being held on 3.14, celebrates the famous mathematical constant π of which that date, in American usage, is the first three digits: and I won't embarrass you by adding that there's also a Pi Approximation Day when, using the date expressed in the proper British way twenty-two slash seven, we can celebrate Pi rather more accurately.|
But now, at last, and to be a lot more rational than π day and to get us back on track as well, this April the twenty sixth at about about eleven fifteen a.m. we proudly introduce East Anglian History Hour when the whole nation will celebrate the many and great contributions people from my part of the British Isles made to America: not to mention to the World. And I won't mention the World again.
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