Good morning to you all and especially “good morning” to one of our recipients who had apparently not discovered that the Befouled Weakly News is now an exclusively on-line publication. Our subscription department received an enquiry during the week. It wasn’t a complaint, per se, but a query as to what had happened to the News? Had it gone out of business? Had the editor simply downed tools or been sacked for gross incompetence? Had the authorities finally raided the premises and thrown the editor into the clink for subversion and sedition? It turns out that they had missed the announcement in January and, since there have been no e-mail reminders in recent weeks, they imagined that we had simply vanished. Wishful thinking, I guess.
I am afraid I have to report that I am beginning to have serious doubts about my mental well-being. We’ve had a glorious week of weather (although yesterday wasn’t great and today isn’t any better) – warm, sunny, positively Spring-like weather. On Friday the temperature reached the astonishing heights of 18 degrees Celsius (just under 65 degrees Fahrenheit! I only mention it to annoy those of you living in the arctic Northeast where the temperatures are still struggling to get above freezing, according to the sources I look at).
So, why am I concerned about my mental health? On Wednesday afternoon I was pretending to do a bit of work on the computer and the sunshine outside the window kept distracting me. So, in a fit of madness, I announced to Ms Playchute that I was about to go outside and shift a pile of dirt and rubble from the driveway where it has been a manifest eye-sore all winter, to the back garden where I intended to deposit it into the gaping excavation which is the site of Ms Playchute’s former pond.
Penelope immediately collapsed at her sewing machine and asked for the smelling salts. I felt somewhat dizzy and light-headed as soon as I said it and had to sit down immediately but even a moment’s reflection was not enough to persuade me otherwise. So, much to everyone’s astonishment, not least my own, I actually went out into the springshine and did a bit of work. Don’t worry though, it certainly won’t become a regular event and I definitely felt significantly better after watching a couple of college basketball games to recover from my dangerously impulsive actions.
As mentioned last time, we met up with the Jelliffes at the Black Country Museum last Sunday and had a lot of fun. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves and I always do – it’s one of my favourite attractions in the Midlands which, of course, we only get to visit when people come to stay. They set off for London on Monday by way of punting in Oxford and are now back home in Connecticut again. It’s clear that Emma should have been a Victorian child – she was summoned to the front of the class to display her prowess with copperplate script writing and proved an expert at rolling the hoop. (Click the photos below for a larger version).
You will remember a few weeks ago I included a snippet from the Los Angeles Times about the “progress” Arizona has made in gun control over the past hundred years, from a time in the 1880s when one was not allowed to carry a gun in Tombstone to the present day when anyone over twenty-one can carry a concealed weapon anytime, anywhere.
Well, now it seems that the state of Utah is not to be outdone by such enlightened attitudes to gun control in its neighbouring state; Utah recently became the first state to adopt a State Firearm. The Browning M1911 has just been designated the official state firearm and joins the official state flower (Sego lily), fossil (allosaurus), fruit (cherry), gem (topaz), bird (sea gull) and other symbols with official designation. (Note how the adoption of the state firearm has relegated the state fish, flower, folk dance, vegetable, insect, rock, tree and even the state song (“Utah This is the Place” by Sam and Gary Francis) into subordinate positions. Seemingly, only the state animal (Elk), bird, centennial astronomical symbol (!), centennial star, state tartan, cooking pot and state emblem are afforded higher status than the newly designated state firearm). The law’s chief sponsor, Carl Wimmer, said that the M1911 symbolises freedom and empowerment.
How about stupidity and senseless, mindless tragedies?
Just Friday morning I read about a couple of neighbours in Mississippi getting into a shootout over a defecating dog and then there is the regular succession of school tragedies of which the Martinsville West Middle School is merely the latest. And now Utah adopts a handgun as an official state symbol? What were they thinking?
Love to you all,