Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Spiders' eight compound eyes 
are ate times bigger than their stomachs.
My lips, a veritable banquet.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Viral meanderings

I'm bouncing (more like crawling) back from round two, or is it round three? of a pesky virus (each iteration brings a different smorgy of symptoms), and I need to soak. What is the best place to soak in the East Bay, or North? It's been so long since I've had a decent soak, I'm out of touch. I used to go to the Hot Tub in Berkeley, long ago. Haven't had a decent bath since 2014. Except for an occasional foray into a hotel hot tub. Last hot spring soak was at Kehoe Hot Springs, and Tecopa hot springs (photo) April 2016. A bit far to go for a soak.

I boiled several pots of water and climbed into the tub (our hot water heater is a tepid water heater, at best. Need temporarily avoided. I lasted all of 15 minutes, I was in the tub for less time than it took to heat the bath. Such a wimp. But I think it did the trick. I feel like an udon noodle. But I still feel guilty using that much water even though the drought's over. Old habits die hard. We'll be heading LV way at the end of April. I think an overiute in Tecopa is in order.

This virus was weird, I got traditional cold symptoms and aches on round one (Feb 13). But I breezed thru it in under a week, only to get round 2 on Mar 18-21 (horrific) to today... is still under a week. But what a week. This bout, not hungry at all... terrible sore throat. Better today. But I slept until 1 PM after waking up at 6-8 AM. I never sleep in. Wed nite was so bad (sore throat) I awoke at 3 AM and didn't go back to sleep. So I was several hours behind the times on sleep to say the least.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



Fire blossoms and rages
Under the eaves of a sheltering sky
Embraces the storm with
Golden arms, cradling the shards of 
Olden dreams and new promises.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Translating "Chun" from the Irish: a triad of sorts

Yesterday, a stranger sent me an Irish saying:
Chun go léir na laethanta anseo agus ina dhiaidh
Is féidir iad a líonadh le cuimhní cinn
Fond, sonas, agus gáire.
I couldn't find it on the internet, so I turned to Google Translate to see if I could glean more information from it. Google translated it as:
For all the days here and beyond
They can be filled with memories
Fond, happiness, and laughter.
Dissatisfied with the translation, using Google, I broke it down word-for-word.

Chun go léir 
na laethanta
agus ina dhiaidh 

Is féidir iad
a líonadh 
le cuimhní cinn 

Fond?  is this a typo???
sonas, agus gáire. 

And then I made a rough interlinear translation:

For/to all/entire days
here (in this place) and before (after) (to come??)

afterwards can, be able, They can 
fill memories/recollections/, pain, or an ache in the head, fond/ahead/accumulate
(why fond again??? and in English?); good luck, good fortune, happiness, and laughter. 

I thought of how "chun" or "in order to" (in the direction of, or arriving at, to/towards), an elusive preposition, was always the bane of my existence during Irish class... It was like a rusty gate hinge in the language. And here I was without the blasted WD-40.

And then I remembered that the preposition "go" or that, which can also mean until, also becomes something which never comes (a shapeshifter), a verbal particle when hitched to a verb or noun. Like "go leor" (galore—or plenty, and enough—which is also a kind of magic, or right enough, as my granny would say).

I translated it as:
To all the days now and to come
may they be filled with fond memories
of (fond) happiness, and laughter.
And then I did another Google search. Damned if I didn't find it under Irish Toasts & Quotes, translated almost exactly the same as my version.
To all the days here and after
May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.
The original translator went for the rhyme-scheme with "after" and 'laughter." But he broke the pattern of the triad in the process. 

Then using Google Translate, I back-translated it to the Irish to see what it would come up with. I got:
Chun go léir na laethanta anseo agus tar éis
Is féidir iad a líonadh le cuimhní cinn
Fond, sonas, agus gáire.
Here's the original again to compare them: 
Chun go léir na laethanta anseo agus ina dhiaidh
Is féidir iad a líonadh le cuimhní cinn
Fond, sonas, agus gáire.
So the only difference was "ina dhiaidh" vs. "tar éis" which was "before/afterwards/later" and "back/following/the past/after. "So, it seems my choice of "to come" was closest to the original Irish, despite the fact there are no infinitive forms of Irish verbs. (Also, in order to be able to (chun!) use an Irish dictionary, you have to be able to unpack, and strip the word back to its original form. Easier said, than done. This is where Google Translate comes in handy. It's not picky.)

The only fly in the ointment was the word in the last line, "fond," which wasn't translated into an Irish word in the original copy I received, and even with Google, and with back-translation, I couldn't find the original word. Fond is not on the Irish dictionary I used, and I don't think it's an odd form, perhaps, old. And if it really was fond, why was it written in English? Puzzling.

To be able to say that one is fond, of something requires a different word and sentence construction cinn: from Old Irish cin (“love, affection; esteem, respect”). Tá cion agam air. Him, fond (at ag (preposition, 1st person), on/upon it/him (air /preposition). Or cinn could merely mean advancement, or accumulate.

Using MacBain's Scottish
etymological dictionary, I stumbled upon the word fonn, or land, Irish fonn, Early Irish fond; so, if I'm right, then fondness has little to do with the correct translation in that last line, but the idea of land, or homeland does. It deepens the aphorism considerably.
To all the days now and to come
may they be filled with fond memories
of homeland, happiness, and laughter.
But, the idea of fondness is already embedded with the word cinn. Why would it be used twice? Besides, if it was a modern variant of an Old Irish triad (which begin with the word, "Three"), it would need the setup of three nouns, or ideas, not two things. Still not quite satisfied, I again trolled MacBain's etymological dictionary, and found another archaic definition of fonn—a tune, Irish fonn, melody/tune, desire, delight...

Sadly, I am not a very good student of Irish, and my sense of Irish grammar, noun declension, base forms, and sentence structure, is shaky, at best. But without adding more articles and particles, this translation rings truest—even though in modern Irish, the word would be foinn. My reasoning?  because clann was originally spelled cland in Old Irish, a borrowing from Old Welsh plant, from Latin planta.... Note the -d ending: d/t are sounds-twins.

I'm not quite up to cracking open my Rudolf Thurneysen's Old Irish Grammar (one of the most expensive books I ever bought, and least used). But it's now online. Sort of. Not the right word, but note that the word fond does exist in Old Irish. From him I learned that Medieval Irish scribes refrained from doubling consonants in unlenited words as it wasted precious parchment space.

In Irish Word database, I found the modern Irish word for fond is ceanuil, among 20 other suggestions. That doesn't help much, other than to also verify that the Irish word fond exists. It is not a typo. The concept of fondness, in Irish, depends upon the exact usage, whether  you're planning on loving, or drinking it.

The fact that I can't find fond in modern Irish suggests that this saying is an Old, or Medieval  Irish aphorism, not a modern one. But I can't find it online. Inconclusive. A pity that I am too shy to ask my Irish teacher Dan Melia  if this is correct interpretation. But I think it is very close to the original (if I could find it...) Here's hoping my use of fond wasn't a faux ami.

I am also resisting the urge to make the first and last lines rhyme, as it doesn't rhyme in the (original) Irish. To come vs beyond, or after. There are no infinitive verbs in Irish. So, to come is technically wrong as well.
To all the days now and to come (or, after/beyond/following)
may they be filled with fond memories:
tunes, happiness, and laughter.
I guess the word "chun" wasn't the bane of my existence, after all, as it merrily led me down the tangled path of translation. "In order to," one foot in front of the other. The grating sound of a rusty gate hinge, was merely the tarnished metal of a dying language polishing itself anew again.

An Irish Blessing
Clan vs Clann

Friday, March 17, 2017

Grimm Parents

I guess we can thank the Brothers Grimm for the image of the evil stepmother motif. But I never had one. I had a Bohemian mother who was challenging parent, not a bonus in the traditional sense. She became an increasingly absentee parent by the time the Summer of Love rolled around. A Cinderella mother made of ashes and illusion, she became the evil stepmother, divorced from reality. During this time my grandmother was my real mother. My father was the eternally absent parent, the only place he could reliably be found was on a barstool in the Mission, well married to the bottle.

Monday, March 13, 2017

My spring forward is sprung

Oh Gawd, so that's what's wrong, it's Daylight Savings...and my internal clock is yowling like a cat caught short in the bathtub. And I'm in a right royal rage which doesn't help matters at all. If I don't gnash or maim someone filter is in place, not even a UV one. Yes. I'm afraid my beddy-bye was more like 3 AM last night, making for a 9 AM rise for a 10:30 teaching job. Not liking it at all. I fell completely behind the times. My timing's literally off. My spring forward is sprung.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dear Google, about those 404 errors on Blogspot

Dear Google Search Console Team,
aka sc-noreply @

Thank you for writing to me to inform me that here are so many problems with my blogpage. And that 404s seem to be on the rise. I must admit, I thought your email was a phishing email. So, I sent it to the Spam folder. But then I did a little research, and your letter seems authentic. Though there are numerous hacks listed, this does not seem to be one of them. I may be wrong. If, so then this is a record.

To: Webmaster of,
"Googlebot identified a significant increase in the number of URLs on that return a 404 (not found) error. This can be a sign of an outage or misconfiguration, which would be a bad user experience. This will result in Google dropping those URLs from the search results. If these URLs don't exist at all, no action is necessary."
First, I had no idea I was a webmaster of my own bloggy kingdom. Does it involve whips and chains, cane-back chairs, kinky black and red leather and lace? Help! I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this information. I click on most of the links and nothing happens.

Some of the blogposts I could access from your provided links, and remove the dead links. But most were dead links, with no redirect, and because they were a jumble of letters, I have no way to even guess what blog post they're referring to. Alpha-numeric word salad.

In the process of trying to make it all work, I discovered a feature on Blogger, to hide bits of blogs. A spacer that creates a divider, for further reading: "Read more...". I'm in hog heaven, as I tend to heavily footnote my writing—(I suspect those excessive links are part of the process that you've taken umbrage to. But now I can hide them from the main article. And those first drafts of poems I tend to save at the bottom, can now be hidden from the finished poem. Fraloo-fralay! But I digress....

Some hot links provided year, month, title, so I was able to access those posts and fix the dead links. Thanks a lot Santa Rosa Press Democrat for revamping your archives and leaving me with a plethora of dead links...

Speaking of "bad user experience," when I "fixed" my Atacama Civilizations piece for you, Blogspot created yet another null page. Scared the crap out of me, as I thought it was forever deleted...

You, dear Google, automatically created that 404 page, not me, when I hit the "fix" URL link. Oops! Luckily I did a search and discovered it was still there. But now I will have to hunt down all my cross-referenced post leading back to that URL and fix them. Talk about cross....

This was the original working URL

When I 'fixed" the URL, it changed, creating yet another dead link.

I had to hunt down the piece, fix cross-referenced posts with a new URL.

And while we're at it, when I upload an URL link for a photo, it should not say "Upload a URL" but Upload an URL. You can't have two unaccompanied vowels snuggling together like that. It leads to the fambly tree going straight up. Besides, it's easier to say an URL versus A (uh) URL, URL, URL, Duke of URL.

Second, several of the old pages you listed as having something wrong with them, were blogposts that I had written, and YOU, dear Google, stalled on the Publish upload, and then wiped my posts clean. As in void. The blank white page.

I was able to recreate most of the lost posts from scratch, but I still mourn for my lost post on Medieval Irish calligraphy and writing—as a lot of deep research went into that post—only to have it disappear. Poof!

Ditto that with my Boschka Layton memorial piece... Have you any idea what it's like to have to recreate a very long and detailed blogpost (2 to 5K words) from scratch?

Ditto that with my Viking Redhead post (my most popular post, pushing 80,000 hits). I'm terrified to even open it to correct the dead URLs, let alone "fix"anything. You've erased it no less than three times during the upload (Publish/Update button) process after I made corrections.

Mar 23, 2009, 52 comments

I finally got wise and made a backup copy in TextEdit, before I hit that Update button. So, you can see why I'm not willing to open that particular post to fix corrections. I might lose it and all the comments its garnered.

Speaking of "bad user experience," you, Google, have not been very good to me over the years as a creator of unique blogger content...Blame it on my slow DSL, or some odd configuration at your end. But it's not been s smooth, or effortless sail. And yes, I have written to you many times. Sometimes I even see my suggestions implemented... But mostly I yowl into the void of cyberspace.

Then there's this:
Search Console
Increase in “404” pages on
It looks like the majority of those 125 null pages were when I moved posts to their correct creation dates in Blogspot. I don't see any way to add a redirect, but won't this eventually fix itself?

It seems silly to go to a non-existent page (that I can't even access) and add another redirect page when the page is merely moved to a different date within Blogspot. Won't the web crawlers eventually catch up? Besides, it's poetry. Who even reads poetry?

And yes, I do see that this email is a No Reply @ Google. But I had to get it off my chest. It will probably wind up as a blog post. You know how that goes. Squeaky wheel and all that. Thank you. I do feel better now.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fixing the Victorian sprung door latches

Tired of the hall closet door opening and bopping me at any given opportunity, I took apart and fixed the broken Victorian skeleton key door knob/latch assemblies. Fascinating, and simple contraptions, the brass spring was broken in both the closet and the bathroom doorknob assembly. So I replaced them. Despite being in situ for 88 years, the old locks (which ere recycled from an even older house, judging by the fin de siècle patent date) were surprisingly clean inside. 

I admired that Victorian craftsmanship even if the springs didn’t last more than a hundred years. It was a pleasure to close the closet doors and hear that satisfying click. Added bonus, the bathroom door handle has a chrome turn key, which I discovered the hard way that you have to remove it too before you can remove the doorknob assembly. A how do it work? kind of morning. Something so satisfying about taking apart old technology (hidden under decades of paint layers) and to free it from its paint prison, only to discover it has ornate brass plates, and the bathroom one has chrome-plated brass door plates. How cool is that? 

So bummed that I used the screwdriver and fillet knife to gouge away the paint. Oh well. Learning curve. Now we can close the doors and latch them, and now they won't swing open on a whim. I also swapped out the glass door knobs too. I also shaved the door tops down and waxed them with soap so that they would easily close. Kicking the shit out of the back door to close it is no longer an option with all this rain, the wood has swelled up so much, it sounds like a wrecking crew is at work when I open it. 

The house has shifted quite a bit in the past five years and it's a struggle to get all the doors to open and close. After a big earthquake, the front door wouldn't close, or lock, and our apt manager trimmed so much off the botttom of the door that the mice could sneak in under the front door. So I had to "fix" that too. Now, I take a drill to the lock bolt slot and shave away some of the metal. Someone asked me why I was fixing the locks. Didn’t I live with Neil? I replied, I'm afraid I'm the go-to fix-it (wo)man, the cook, the char lady, the laundress, the gardener, the personal shopper, even the IT person, etc., the dailiness of living is just not Neil’s fortę. Three doors down, three more to go.