210728 Wednesday

Cry in the Wee Hours

With my window open, as it is most nights in these Irish summers, something other than the simple, sweet chill of the air slipped in at two or so. A cry, if you will. A series of them, maybe five or six in a minute. Not a baby, but something like a baby. And not quite a cat. A fox, then — as I’ve heard before, and seen, though seldom, in the lanes and streets at evening. Is there much in nature that outdoes the fox for looks, with that rich red coat and those deep eyes set in a wary wild face that also somehow seems knowing? From my bed in the wee hours, I had no immediate view through the window, and I doubt I’d have seen the fox anyway in the dark, which does still come in July, but late. I judged the cries to be well away from the cottage. After a few minutes, I left the fox behind, returning to some dream I can’t recall and would rather not. Now it’s near seven and I’m mostly awake and at my work, which is this, and my coffee’s in need of a refill, and the sky is a lovely Wednesday blue. Market day.

Kevin McCarthy on Science

Make no mistake—The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.

— Kevin McCarthy

Let’s unpack this. The Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives begins with “make no mistake.” Always good advice. Keep your errors to a minimum. Don’t do anything that hurts you more than it helps you. Or maybe he means, “don’t be fooled.” Like he knows something we don’t. About the science of the virus. Kevin McCarthy. Right.

Then he describes “bringing masks back” as a “threat.” What is a threat? It is “a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.” So, aiming to save lives by requiring masks indoors to fight the Delta variant is retribution?

Then he says “bringing masks back is not a decision based on science.” The virus is airborne. It hangs in the air. It collects in the air of inadequately ventilated spaces. You breathe it out. You breathe it in. A mask dramatically reduces the likelihood that you’ll give it to somebody or get it.

So, “bringing masks back” is entirely based on science. It’s not based on anything else. It’s not some radical Left plot to make life inconvenient for Kevin McCarthy or his constituents. “Bringing masks back” is bringing masks back for everybody, not just conservatives.

Then he says bringing masks back is a decision “conjured up by liberal government officials.” Like it delights “liberal government officials” to take measures, necessary in a pandemic, that bring more than a little inconvenience to everybody, including their constituents? Please.

Then he says these unnamed “liberal government officials” actually “want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.” Hell, yes. Gotta love that perpetual pandemic state. Or maybe, just maybe, they want to emerge from the pandemic with a minimum of fatalities.

Bits and Pieces

Soil doesn’t give up its secrets easily. Its constituents are tiny, varied and outrageously numerous. At a bare minimum, it consists of minerals, decaying organic matter, air, water, and enormously complex ecosystems of microorganisms. One teaspoon of healthy soil contains more bacteria, fungi and other microbes than there are humans on Earth.

A Soil-Science Revolution Upends Plans to Fight Climate Change.

210727 Tuesday


Nearing seven by the coast of the Celtic Sea, the sky painter at work in monochrome with whites and grays all but covering the blue morning canvas, the air tame with a damp chill, rain having come yesterday and gone, wood pigeons sounding their calls and answers across the town, and we’re off into whatever’s next.


Now there’s a word that might do as the word of the day or week or month in these times of ours. What are the symptoms of the condition? For me, one of the symptoms apparently is an episodic oversensitivity to god-awful sounds. If, for example, someone were to launch, on a nearby iPhone and entirely innocently, a video with some wretched techno beat at what ordinarily might be considered reasonable decibels, I might go off. I might well go off.

210726 Monday


Half eight on a Monday in July by the Celtic Sea. The air tame with a chill, the sky a high blue canvas half-covered in the strokes of a painter undecided about the day, swifts aloft and on the hunt, the coffee decent tart and sweet, and we’re off on the road to who knows where.


As I watch the video from Dinant in Belgium of violent water, astonishingly high and fast, careening through streets and carrying away cars as if they were weightless, my mind turns to all the powerful in all the governments voting “no” on all the steps to move the world away from its trajectory toward what the piper must be paid.

Rare Thunder

Mid-afternoon now, and the rain has arrived as forecast, accompanied by thunder, and the thunder — not at all common here — understandably has unsettled the seagulls, setting them to their high squawking.