Another night with spotty internet. I’m to blame; the other day someone asked me if I had problems with Earthlink, and I said no. Well, some. Occasional dropouts, with unexplained outages two or three times a year, but nothing that made me tear out my hair and seek something more dependable, like carrier pigeons. Since then I’ve had daily outages, and given the extent to which I rely on the internet now, it’s maddening. It’s the same at the paper – I get wireless over here, but move three feet over there and face south while standing on one leg and I might as well be in the Saraha with a tin can pointed at the sky in the hopes a passing satellite leaks a few bits. None of this would have mattered 20 years ago, of course. How did we survive? I still remember waiting for the top of the hour news to hear if anything had happened. Imagine that: waiting. For news.

Well, if there’s no internet tonight, I’m fubared. No, strike that; I may be fouled up, but not beyond recognition.I expect Gnat will have memories like the first young boy who lived in Jasperwood in the 20s – in his memoir he relates watching his father and uncle string wires in the living room to catch radio waves, fussing and cussing over tubes and signals. Nothing changes. When the internet is beamed directly into our heads it’ll take them two years to figure out the effect of jewelry, filings, and hair styles., and people will complain about the early days when you'd have a millisecond buffering delay because they hadn't learned to compensate for sunspots.

Not that I want the internet in my head. Anymore than it already is, anyway.

There. I’ve troubleshot the system; let’s see if we’re on.

Well, this is jack dandy. Network’s working, but Earthlink is gone. Great. You’d think I’d rejoice: a free night! Read a book, sit on the steps by the hill, watch the passing parade of life, say a prayer for the tree across the street – it just got the bad news the other day, even though we all knew it was sick. It’s the last of four great elms that anchored all points of a corner up the street, giant old men that sheltered the houses for eighty years. Three came down in one year. You never think of the open sky as a wound until something like that happens. The survivor was butchered by the tree doctors – it had one limb shooting out over the street, and it made the tree look crazy, somehow, as if was waving at imaginary enemies. Turns out it was right. Yesterday I saw the orange paint around the trunk. Down it goes.

At least we’re elm-free here at Jasperwood. I think. I hate to say it, but I don’t know what half these trees are; I just know I have a lot of them, and I like that. Then again, they’re not mine. They don’t feel like mine. You can’t own a tree. You live with them, but they’re not yours.

An ordinary day; busy as the rest. They fly by, sure-footed. August is when the pace slows, it seems – it’s the sheer size of the month that impresses you from a distance. Thirty-one days of summer! You don’t know where to start. I still hope to get a family cabin vacation in, but after consulting with the family last night we’re going to pass on the resort where we spent a few days last year. Mainly because there was nothing to do and the food was inedible. Every meal: gristled salt wad, translucent coffee-juice, salads made up of albino lettuce spinal columns. I enjoyed the nights, the stars, the loon on the water, sitting on the floor playing UNO with Gnat, but they’re right: it was a bit dull. But it’s supposed to be dull, isn’t it? You’re supposed to sit and read and uncork, let out the vapors. 

I’m bad at that sort of thing. Have to leave the country to do it. Go to Cozumel, chew through a stack of cheap fiction, snorkel, drink Cerveza Leon, then head back to the room for a Mexican Beer Nap. That’s heaven. Vacations where you do things seems to defeat the purpose, unless it’s Disneyworld; that’s an alternate dimension – and even then there’s the promise of poolside at twilight.

I think I’ll take a hiatus next week. Just so you’re warned. I need some time to not do things. Step away from as well, and read a damn book, already. I’m eatin’ the seed corn here!

Well, another column due for another job, and then another column after that. So I’d best finish my work, then pray Earthlink comes back up in time to research the Good Morning post for

This concludes the most inessential 800 words you’ll read today.

Hey hey! It’s back up. Well, this means that the night is now an orgy of frant-o-type, since those three pieces must be concluded before I rest my head on the pillow. On the other hand: I’m in the gazebo, and I just turned on the Oak Island Water Feature (by remote control! What a world) and there are sadder fates than sitting outside on a summer night with an adult beverage, listening to the water and the planes, typing away. More later.

LATER. I hate to bifurcate things like this, but given the demands of the evening - had TWO pieces due - I will hand you off to buzz, which is pretty much the second part of the Bleat, in tone. And you can comment! So there's that.

Here's this week's Money. Scant remarks, but lovely notes. Off to - see you there!





Amazon Honor System