Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trackpad Woes

I'm so thrilled to have my laptop trackpad working again, thanks to Apple Bar Genius, Jax. The senile trackpad was having a secret inner life of its own, spontaneously loading web pages, ordering things from Amazon, and executing all manner of odd right mouse click commands, from lassoing everything on the desktop, highlighting everything on web pages, to spontaneous trash runs.

Everything was confounded and compounded by no working right or left click bar (button) as well. It's fixed. Done. No more hammering on my trackpad with fist to get it to let go of the lassoed folders. No more ghost in the machine. No more secret life of Walter Mitty.

Sure, I need a new trackpad, and yes, we tried to adjust it several times over. I even took the little adjustment screw all the way out at one point. Nothing worked. I had to turn on the advanced tap click option when the clicker failed completely. There are some things you can't do if you don't have a clicker. Like choose which user you are upon restart. Or lasso and drag text on some webpages. Needless to say, I had many strange workarounds. But now it clicks like a champ.

A friend asked what my trackbad was buying. Mostly ebooks. It made a valiant attempt at some computer electronics cables. I was able to thwart it. But I was smacking it around, slugging the keyboard with my fist, trying to stop it, and it kept on spending. The ebooks were supposed to be samples...imagine my surprise when I found out that I bought them for real. One-click buying is lethal when your trackpad's gone clean mad. I managed to either cancel or return them all. Some web pages and ads are still spontaneously loading but I can live with that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Maureen Hurley Reading at California College of the Arts

Maureen Hurley Reading
Wednesday, February 24, 7:30 pm
A2 Cafe, Oakland Campus
Free and open to the public
5212 Broadway (at College Avenue)
Contact: 510.597.3709 or

Poet and artist Maureen Hurley has won grants, awards, and fellowships for her poetry including eight California Arts Council grants and two KQED SPARK artist grants. As an artist in residence, she teaches Bay Area kids poetry and art through California Poets in the Schools.
Hurley holds an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University.
She grew up in the wilds of west Marin and currently lives in Oakland.

Light refreshments provided.

"Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" documentary includes Archie Williams.

My ab-fab foundations of algebra teacher, the late, great Archie Williams was a real Olympic champion. Archie won the 400-meter race. I got to hold his Olympic gold medal. I sucked at math, but Archie was the kindest, gentlest mentor I ever had. Not his fault that math didn't take. Oh, but the stories he told us, of winning the Olympics, of running with Jesse Owens, and meeting Hitler.

At 13, we hardly knew who Hitler was, but we held that same gold medal that Hitler bequeathed to Archie. Archie was a a man who broke world records, and race barriers.

He was a pioneer on several counts, not just the Olympics. After he injured his leg, he reinvented himself and became one of the first African American fighter pilots, and flight instructor, an engineer, and a computer teacher, when computers were young.

He was one of the few teachers that cared about each of us, it was not just about learning math, or passing the class. I learned to collect multitudes of stories from him. I probably failed math miserably but a much larger life lesson was the answer to the equation.

My friend Ken Bullock wrote: "Archie was a very special guy. He was a family friend, and frequently played golf with my dad. His son, Archie Junior was a good friend of mine as well. Archie was on the podium with Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics, but he had only one gold medal to Jesse's 3, so Jesse got most of the press. Archie wasn't one to feel slighted though. He became a flight instructor, and taught the famous "Red Tails", the Tuskegee Airmen to fly in combat. He was, what almost every student in Drake High School would say, the best teacher and person ever! "

"Olympic Pride, American Prejudice," a documentary set to premiere later this year including Archie Williams.

"Jesse Owens Was Brave. So Were These 17 Other Black Olympians.
Their stories are rarely told.

People often remember the 1936 Olympics in Berlin for track and field legend Jesse Owens taking home four gold medals, essentially triumphing over Adolf Hitler’s hateful ideologies in his own backyard. At the time, Americans considered Owens to be representative of how the mighty U.S.A. was superior to Hitler and Germany.
But Owens was just one of 18 black athletes on the U.S. Olympic team brave enough to attend the games in Nazi Germany. This summer marks the 80th anniversary of those games, and the athletes’ accomplishments are perhaps even more significant all these years later.
"—read the full story and photos  at Huff Post

"Archie Williams went on to become a Tuskegee airman. He was a trained pilot while he was at [the University of California, Berkeley] and he was a mechanical engineering major so he became a Tuskegee airman.

"According to Williams, despite the Nazi racial policies already in effect in Germany in 1936, he and the other African-American athletes were treated very well by ordinary Germans. In fact, they were treated better than they were used to in the United States. As Williams noted, in Germany, "none of us had to ride in the back of the bus." He was, however, well aware of Adolf Hitler's antipathy for blacks and Jews, and found it a bit disturbing when he had what the called the "dubious honor" of standing less than 50 feet from Hitler during the Opening Ceremonies." SB Nation

See more photos of Archie here.

part of my memory was written 3/25/15, but  I never did anything with it.
RIP Harry Roche
Segregation Games (Archie Williams)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Argentine ants orgiastically burrowed
beneath sweet sugar crystals in the cut glass sugar bowl
only to find the end of it in a scalding mug of tea
studded with  tea leaves.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Linguistics segue on Celts and Albanians

Dang, I was in the midst of discussing Albanian linguistic origins on an Indo European language post when Facebook completely spazzed out and took off. And everything was lost. I had posted that the Albanian word for fish was too similar to Welsh—in Irish it’s iasc, and in Welsh, it’s pysc. I can’t remember the Albanian. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve lost the Albanian word.

The upshot is that the word for fish is probably not a Latin loanword... (Why do people assume Latin is always the Ur language for other IE languages, when the PIE word is the model at hand?) O bhuel, perhaps someone will take offense at my post and then I'll be able find it again and finish my thought. (Didn’t happen.

What I'm intrigued by is that this Smithsonian article does not challenge format of the model, which should be in question, it's an example of the historicity of the mapping of IE, with all its (unconscious) biases. If you watch the map, note that German follows modern political borders... and I don't think it was that widespread. And does it predate Celtic? I think not. It's pure supposition.

Oh look, they even forgot to include Celtic in its original homeland, in what is now Austria. Oopise. Celtic had much larger range, and yet gauging by the Smithsonian Magazine map, it's depicted as less than half its original range. Iberia isn't even included. From what I could tell Iberian Gaulish was similar to Gaulish, but there were also similarities to Irish...mainly hard 'c" vs "p."

And then there's are semantic gaffs, "Ancient Turkey..." etc.; clearly the writer has a poor grasp on the subject matter (and history)...the article should've been edited. Also, look to the animated mapmaker. Since when is Business Insider in the linguistics business?

And of course, the out of Anatolia theory is but one model. Gawd, I loved those accidental lessons in linguistics, when I took Old Irish. I was not a good student, in way over my head, but I took a year if it. And I worked hard at it every single day. A classmate was taking Hittite at the same time so I got a peek into Hittite as well.

Got the original Smithsonian Page

What, no Tocharian A? (not Indo-Iranian) Extremely simplistic map, seems to favor German over, and predate Celtic, when it was the other way around. And Celtic had a huge influence, not the minute portion represented on the map. Should have included much of Iberia, All of France, Northern Italy, more of Europe, Bohemia, Balkans, and parts of Anatolia too.

Albanian is later on the scene, Dacian, Illyrian, or even Thracian was probably a predecessor. Oddly, there are also Celtic loan words (or cognates) in Albanian. Probably from the Balkan, or Thracian Celts. (Alba is a Celtic word.... but I think Albania comes from a different word: Ar'banas.) Albanian is from the satem language group, as were Dacian and Thracian. Illyrian was probably a centum language, as were the Celtic languages.

Some of the Latinate loanwords may not be loanwords, but part of the PIE continuum: Albanian: peshk (or pysc/pysg in Cornish and Welsh, and iasc/iasg in Irish). Proto-Indo-European is *pisḱ-.

The Facebook thread drew some ire from my Dutch friend Vins who said Some authority on all these "we knows" would be nice. A simple reference to Eberhard Nestle's NTG gives Saint Paul's Προς Γαλατας. No mention of Κελτοι, whereas Paul knew his Greek very well! Now for Saint Jerome and those Swiss Galli and the rest of above claims."Galatians were Κελτοι" —unlikely, of course, as Paul (no fool, this man!) would have called them so if they had been (like I said). The reference you just gave throws Celts and Gauls often on one heap; and for good measure, throws in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, from manuscripts of the 12th and later centuries. All that does not help scholarly inquiri.

I said Gauls, Galli, Galicians, Galatians were all Celts. Keltoi is merely a Greek word. Exogamic, at that. And gave some references. LOL. tricky in that there was no Celtic writing... unless you count Ptolemy's map of Ireland—transliteration of tribal and place names. The outside looking in.

Below are comments and references from this thread.

The Wisdom of the Celts - Google Books

Philosophical Library - 2010 - The Helvetti were a Celtic tribe settledin Switzerland and Gaul (theofficial name ... the Gesatae settled as far eastas Anatolia, Turkey,and named their area Galatia. ... Paul, the Christian apostle, and, according to St.Jerome, one ofthe fathers of ...

One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost

Peter Austin - 2008 - GAULISH Until end of 4th century ce Gaulish, also known as Gallic, was the ... having been identified archeologically at Hallstatt in Austria and La Tene in Switzerland. ... the Galatians, whose language was still used — according to St. Jerome .

Europe: A History - Page 222 - Google Books

Norman Davies - 1996 - Celto-!berians in Spain, of Galio-Romans in Gaul, of Romano-Britons in Britain. Many of ... Helvetii (Switzerland), Treveri (Trier), Parisi (Paris), Redones (Rennes), ... later St Jerome, who came from Trier, correctly noted that the Galatians spoke ...

Video posted in the smiths on Ian article was far too simple. Extremely simplistic map, seems to favor German over, and predate Celtic, when it was the other way around. And Celtic had a huge influence, not the minute portion represented on the map. Should have included much of Iberia, All of France, Northern Italy, more of Europe, Bohemia, Balkans, and parts of Anatolia too. Not just modern boundaries of Celtic languages. (Celtic fringe.). Anglo-centric map. Biased. Using old paradigms.

Vins asked Would anyone be able to provide a dictionary and grammar for Celtic (to any other language)?

I have old Irish grammar books and dictionaries, as well as Hiberneo, and Modern Irish grammars. My linguist teacher Garry Holland at Berkekey did a lot of work on Gaulish grammar—which is surprisingly similar to Old Irish! Don't know about Celtic, per would all be hypothetical, like PIE. At least in Gaulish there was some writing to go by.

At least the Tocharians (A,B &C) thought to write something down. Tocharian is as highly inflected as Irish, both are among the oldest IE languages.

Medieval Welsh was just coming into its own during the "time" of King Arthur, differentiating itself from Brittonic.

As for Celtic, we do know via Sts Jerome & Paul that the same Celtic language that was spoken in Helvetia, or what is now Switzerland was the same language that was spoken in Anatolia. St Paul really didn't like those Celtic party animals. And it's a pity they never wrote back.

I guess we should really call it Gaulish vs Celtic, as they were called out as the Galatians. And those Anatolian Celts did not come by way of Helvetia, but Pergamon.

We don't have Scythian writing either, but it was an IE language, as was Hittite (lots of writing there...)"The Epistle to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul the Apostle to a number of Early Christian communities in Galatia." Galatians were Κελτοι as were Galli.

Galatians: Jerome describes the origin of the Galatians as a Gaulish tribe settled in Asia;

Galatian language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Galatian was contemporary with and closely related to the Gaulish language. ... that Galatians at the time were already bilingual in Greek, as St. Jerome

... Saint Jerome (writing in AD386/387) remarked in a commentary on St. Paul's ...In the Preface to Book II. Jerome describes the origin of the Galatians as a Gaulish tribe settled in Asia; but he takes them as slow of understanding, and says that the Gauls still preserve this character, j.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Charolais love

© Maureen Hurley 2016

At cousin Katie's ranch for Sinead's birthday BBQ. Kicked off two items on my bucket list. Another view of Elephant Mountain (really I want to go up it, but this will do). And going along the old railroad bed from McIsaac' s Ranch to Pt. Reyes Station, we did almost the entire middle route. I'm over the moon. The cows were very glad to see us. They thought we brought hay. But they have an entire hillside of grass to eat. Katie's new Charolais is about to give birth at the foot of Elephant Mountain. Very friendly. She wanted to lay her head in my lap. I was in the back of a four-wheeler. Isn't she a beauty? And she has grey eyes!

Brand new camera!

Letter to Pat Conroy

Ah no! Well, first, Happy 70th Birthday, and second, thank you for the process of trying to discover yourself through the process of writing, your novels have changed me, and third, you'll give the Big C a good fight, and a run for its money. I will keep you in my thoughts. (As my argument with organized prayer, or maybe it's the word itself, is about as epic as your argument with family and society...) I suspect the act of writing is my paeon, my homage to the concept of prayer, so I will write for you. I will write. True. And fearless. Because that's all I know how to do in the face of adversity. You have lived life fully, left no metaphorical stone unexamined, and you will continue to live life to its fullest. And that in, and of itself, is a prayer, and affirmation to life. And you will be fearless in your fight as well. Godspeed, O King of Tides. Your work and vision have sustained so many of us. Given us the courage to examine our own lives.


Sunday, February 14, 2016


Day 5 of not enough sleep.
Stress is taking its toll
on an overdrawn account.
Flannel-eyed, I am.
Note to self: Try not to dance
on the rim of that mug of tea,
forgotten on the floor.
There is no graceful recovery mode.

added 1/22/2017

Day 5 of not enough sleep is taking its toll. Flannel-eyed, I am. Note to self: Try not to dance on the rim of that mug of tea, forgotten on the floor. There is no graceful recovery mode.

Bleeding Hearts (photo)

Bleeding hearts; 40 years ago, I fell down a scree embankment above the creek and dislodged these bleeding hearts. Feeling sorry for them, I took them home and they took root. So they're about 40 years old (and a whole lot older than that in the larger scheme of things). They bloom faithfully every year. My valentines.

I got a new camera yesterday. I toasted mine on NYE, taking pix of Pt. Reyes. It got its sensor burnt at Schooner Creek, by reflections. And then light meter went to the dark side. I found I could coax it along by bracketing, but what's the point? And the camera I had my eye on was the next model up Panasonic w/ the Leica lens. AND the price had dropped by $160! Over the moon. Zoom isn't as good as it could be, but I can control F-stop, shutter, etc...lots of features. We'll see.

added 2/2017

the prose behind SOLO DANCE

Day 5 of not enough sleep is taking its toll. Flannel-eyed, I am. Note to self: Try not to dance on the rim of that mug of tea, forgotten on the floor. There is no graceful recovery mode. Someone sayys: Just wait til they get to the denim stage.

Ah stress. Was working on the Poetry Out Loud event, and there were problems, so I was up all hours the night before, then it became a pattern. Once I get off my sleep cycle, and if I'm stressed, then I go to sleep late and wake up early, tooo early. Slept last night for the first time in a week. Ah, blessed sleep. You are not overrated.

I read an interesting article on sleep deficit:

Is Your Sleep Account Overdrawn?: Interview with Dr John O’Neill, MRC Laboratory For Molecular Biology, 5th Feb 2016, on the Naked Scientists.

Coffee, chocolate, tea—even sugar will keep me awake. 

To sleep, perchance to dream. There's the ticket.

added 2/17


A Desert Five-spot mallow bleeds in the gravel,
a rare Valentine amid the Gravel Ghosts.
The Funeral Mountains are giddily dressed
in alluvial skirts spangled with Desert Gold,
Phacelia, Poppy and Purple Mat

After that last Biblical deluge,
the saltpan was scoured white as snow.
Decades of dustorms had blanketed it
against the elements.

I remember following a dry streambed
from Badwater to the far side of Death Valley
to see the pupfish. The streambed was white,
and satin-smooth, like a bolt of silk,
I lay down on it like a lover, caressing its skin.

It meandered like a shining ribbon
through the jagged knife-dark hell
of the Devil's Golf Course
with its labyrinth of salt spires.

I walked barefoot on that path for miles,
soft plodding of feet against saltpan
like two fish flopping in a mirage of water.
But they thirsted for sweetwater
in an otherwise arid landscape.

rev. 3/21

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Sometimes when my late-to-bed self
meets my early-to-rise self,
when the candle burns at both ends,
it's the the middle of the night
that's in danger.


from a Facebook thread with Al Young

UnKind Energy Bars are for the Birds

Is it just me, or does an upscale energy health bar that retails for more than a buck apiece tastes like sweetened birdseed? Millet and really raw quinoa. I can still taste the bitterness of the husk long after I've swallowed it. How unKind. Give me granola or give me muesli. Give me horse oats, any day.

Besides, energy bars are merely an excuse to eat candy bars masquerading as health bars. The energy boost comes from the sugar, not the raw grains. Said unKind bar had millet, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat (like pea gravel) and oats, all raw. Most of which, we probably can't even digest raw. All of which, at one point or another, I have eaten raw. Yep.

And yes, I did eat birdseed (millet) as a kid. Agnes fed Chi-chi the canary millet to make him sing. Speck McAuliffe's green parrot bit my finger when I stole his sunflower seeds.

I also ate horse oats, the sweet ones were the best, and I even ate dog biscuits on a dare!  What can I say, I was gullible? Milkbones were awful, but a classmate loved them. So you know I had to try them. Lucky we didn't have a dog. Kitty kibble is not good. I have it on the cats' authority.

Trader Joe's was giving away packets of what looked like oyster crackers.... I stuffed a couple of packet in my pocket, and when I was particularly peckish, I munched on some. Phwatt! Horrid, with bits of calcium, that is bone bits. I had very clean teeth afterwards. Clean teeth and a shiny coat. Fresh breath. Woof. (Note to self: next time, read the label first, before eating.)

But seriously, sweet horse oats were covered in blackstrap molasses. And they tasted far better than my unKind bar. Way cheaper too. When I was a kid, a hundred pound sack cost me $3.50 ( 6.5 hours' worth of babysitting money), and a gunnysack-ful would've lasted me a decade to two. The horses, ponies and donkeys routinely broke out of the corral to break into the garbage can where I kept the oats. The mice and birds too. It was an ongoing battle of wits to keep the oats safe.

The unKind health bar was so bloody awful, I nearly spit it out. Blows my mind that people actually buy them. Not the generic over-sweetened granola bars, mind you, but the organic "health store" variety. I did eat it, I needed to eat something. But it was not pleasurable. If I wasn't so hungry...there wasn't another option.

I just needed to get something in my gullet and it was free. My shark fin was up and in danger of impaling the air and I had to eat something then and there. An old boyfriend used to carry peanuts when he saw the fin of hunger rise up. He knew the signs. Cranky doesn't even begin to cover it.

Awful, awful. I'd rather eat horse oats with molasses any day. I don't care about the calories but you can be sure, no more unKind bars will cross my tongue. Phwatt and ptooey. I was still cranky after I ate that bar. And I sure couldn't sing like a canary. But I do feel a little whinny coming on. Or is that a sneeze? Maybe it's a desert canary song—a hee-haw arpeggio in Bflat.

Give me horse oats. Give me chocolate, or give me death. Well, maybe some wine too. But never give me an unKind millet bar again.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes, photo

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Nothing like Shrove, or Fat Tuesday pancakes for dinner, My grannie always made pancakes for dinner. We were so excited. It was Sunday morning verging on Tuesday night. No funny papers. But even still, it was exciting.

My grannie made everything from scratch. Not even Bisquick snoozed in our pantry. But you can use any quick-bread, or pancake mix and adulterate it. I like buckwheat pancake mix, if I can find it. Make some pancakes using buttermilk, oil and pancake mix, then add way too many eggs.

If the recipe asks for one egg, add three or more eggs. You can also add a little seltzer water, or ginger ale, or anything bubbly to add a delicate airiness to the pancakes. Batter should be runny, let it sit a half-hour, or longer, to thicken up. If you’re organized, make your batter the night before. Never happens in my house. I inexplicably get the urge for pancakes at 6 pm, nearly too late. Sometimes I don’t even realize it’s Shrove Tuesday, but I have the instincts of a homing pigeon when it comes to authorized pancakes for dinner.

Grease a big pan with unsalted butter, let it get nutty brown for maximum favor impact, spread the pancake batter thin, like crepés. I use a soup ladle. First one is for the kitchen god. Stack 'em up on a warm plate. You'll need to add butter to the pan for each pancake. Half a pat. Salted butter is too much. Ruins the delicate flavor.

Filling: mix cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, or sour cream, vanilla sugar, zest and juice of one lemon, OK, so spike it with maple syrup too. Spread on pancake and roll it up like a cigar and smoke it.

One year I went wild with flavored Wensleydale cheeses, studded with dried apricots, and lemon rind. They were delicious, but way too heavy and boggily filling. Stick with cottage cheese and tart it up.

Filling no. 2: spread pancake with creme fraich or Mexican extra fat sour cream (it has a much better flavor than American sour cream) on a pancake, then smear it with good raspberry preserves. I like seedless preserves vs raspberry jam. (I hate blueberries, but that could be a hit. Or huckleberry jam if you can find it). Roll it up. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Oui. Olé!

Filling no. 3: spread pancake with butter, really good marmalade or jam. Eat.

Deluxe edition. Drink one glass champagne, or spumante between each step, and don't forget to take a sip or two as you liberate each pancake from the pan, of course. By the time you have enough for a meal, you won't care what day of the week it is. It’s a good luck tradition to flip the pancakes sans spatula. Good luck.

Shrove it Jack!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Landforms moving into dance (photo)

Elephant Mountain, Gallagher Ranch, Point Reyes © Maureen Hurley 2015

Whenever I see the West Marin hills align in wedges as we thread our way along the back road from Nicasio to Point Reyes., my hands begin to sweep and caress the vast swaths of land, as I spontaneously paint and gesture with my arms, my art and photography move into dance. I always want to walk barefoot down those smooth dirt roads in summer. Nothing like the pad of bare feet in cornstarch soft dust between the toes, heading down to the creek. Beauty is twice beauty when it comes to the hills of West Marin.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Writing Process: Keyboard vs Longhand

I like keeping a little distance from my writing, so I write propped up in my bed with a big LCD monitor at the foot, and I use a wireless keyboard and mouse. I've a headless MacBookPro running the tiny empire (a friend poured a nice big glass of Chardonnay on the keyboard, thus killing the screen, and she gave it to me).

Old back injury precludes traditional desk and chair—not that I EVER liked sitting at a desk, ever, I hurt sitting in chairs, and get spasms... I hated CRT monitors, and always tried to get as far away from them as I possibly could. So laptops are my preferred pen. It's an evolutionary process. And now that my eyes are older (sigh), they too like the six-foot distance from the monitor as well. But I have to make the typography huge in order to read it.

I used to write in journals, but after a second car accident, the physics of writing was challenging (I had PTSD), but keyboarding wasn't threatening and I could fix my wild typos. Besides, I'm a messy writer, constantly revising, so the keyboard process is kinder to dyslexics than paper. That said, I do miss the scribing process. You think different in longhand. Something savagely soothing about writing in cursive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Hiraeth is a Cymraeg (Welsh) word which doesn't translate well into English. Hiraeth, and the Cornish hireth are co-equivalents to the Portuguese saudade. It is a deep longing for home, but it's not mere homesickness. It's a deep, abiding bond one feels with homeland, tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed, or the past. It is an admixture of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, and desire. A lump that begins in the back of the throat, straddling both the real, and imagined past, both coming and going simultaneously as you stand there, at one with the eternal moment that is always now.


 This is probably the origin of this post.