This is going to be another “Jerry Seinfeld” blog, a little of this, a little of that, and a lot of nothing.  I have put out a couple of posts recently where no-one posted a comment.  I felt a little abandoned, till I checked my stats and realized that 25 people had read each of them.  They were (gentle) feeling blogs, not thinking, or feeling-strongly-enough-to-comment blogs.

It gave me an insight into what we bitch about, why, and why not.  Put out a post about world hunger or nuclear disarmament, and the ho-hum scale doesn’t even light up.  Rants had one about, Do you eat the heels of bread loaves?  Sandylikeabeach put up one about, Do you put the toilet paper over or under?  Another blogger asked, Which is better, Coke or Pepsi?, and in each case, the comment thread went so long I thought I was going to have to put up another monitor, to catch the overflow.

Subjects like world hunger and nuclear disarmament are too big and complex for most of us to have an informed opinion about.  Even if we did, we are too small to influence the powers that can make a difference.  However, toilet paper, bread crusts and Pepsi are parts of our very immediate life, and ranting can make a difference.

Savorthefolly felt that a couple of my posts were too blunt, and thought that they should be edited for more subtlety and finesse.  Like Rants, I’ve never been big on subtlety and finesse, and the older and more cynical I become, the less likely I am to believe in the benefits of using them.  My readership here would probably appreciate them, but, the habits of lifetime exposure to the great unwashed tend to ensure Sound and Fury, Signifying…. wake up and think, damn it.

I promised Savor to explain the similarities with mule training.  A doctor from New Hamster decided to retire somewhere warmer.  He fancied himself a bit of a gentleman farmer, so he bought a bit of land in Alabama.  Since this was to be a hobby farm, he didn’t want to use a tractor, but instead wanted to own a mule.  He asked around and found another farmer willing to sell him one, but was told that it wasn’t trained for farm work.  However, the owner knew a good trainer and arranged for the man to pick up the mule the next day, to deliver it to the doctor’s, and begin training.

When the mule and the trainer arrived the next day, one of the first questions the doctor asked was, “How do you train a mule?”  “Love, consideration and respect” was the answer.  The doctor showed him to a suitable area, and went back to the house, promising to return in a few minutes, to watch the proceedings.  When he got back, he found the trainer with a big chunk of 2 X 4, beating the mule between the eyes.  “What are you doing?” he yelled.  “I thought you used love, consideration and respect.”  “I do!” the trainer replied, “but first, you have to get their attention.”  That subtle enough?

Speaking of subtle, if you turn on the lights, the roaches will hide.  I hear that the New York City Board of Education, having had the light of newspaper and internet ridicule shined on their all-you-can-put-up-with, buffet table of No Child Left Uncosseted, has withdrawn their ridiculous list of unacceptable ideas.  I guess they’ve decided to let their little darlings learn to deal with reality like the rest of us.

Sharp left turn!  Follow closely!  Don’t get lost kids!  I went with my son recently to a second-hand bookstore.  I didn’t want anything specific, so, as he searched the stacks for his treasures, I looked at a few things that caught my attention.  I took down an old English hard-cover book and opened it.  A small piece of paper fluttered to the floor.  I bent over to look at it, and gently picked it up and put it in my shirt pocket.

Apparently used as a bookmark, it was an English bus ticket, issued about 1941 or ’42.  It’s older than I am.  It was for a bus company in Shropshire, just east of the Wales border.  When the Nazis started bombing, a lot of industries were moved to the west side to protect them.  This bus company already existed but, with the influx of workers and armed forces to move around, suddenly blossomed.  The fare was one shilling, actually a bit expensive, but supported by a war-time economy.  Hand stamped on the back is a notice that reads, “If not factory worker or armed forces, please do not use the bus between 4 PM and 7 PM.”

What a delicate piece of historical ephemera, so easily ruined, or lost forever.  I have mounted it in a small photo frame to protect it.  The stamped notice on the back cannot be seen but, there are frames with two pieces of thin glass for items like this.  Neither of two local museums are interested in it because of geographical and era restrictions.  I hope, one day, to ship it off to the War Museum in Ottawa.  It’s amazing what you can see, when you keep your eyes, and mind, open.

5 thoughts on “Olio

  1. kayjai says:

    Nice little gem of history you found. Lucky you!


  2. BrainRants says:

    Awesome find, Archon. I have my father’s and grandfather’s WW II enlistment and discharge paperwork, among other personal treasures.


  3. savorthefolly says:

    well hello. I just saw this post. Archon – I’m too depressed right now to properly respond to your comments. but let me at least say that I love reading your blog and I don’t think you lack subtlety. sorry that didn’t come out right in my comment. at some point if it is okay with you, perhaps you’ll let me take one of your paragraphs – particularly one you write about a controversial topic, and edit it a bit. I’d be curious to see if you like the changes I’ve made – or if you feel they take away from the point you were trying to make.

    bottom line – I meant it as a compliment. as in…I’d enjoy collaborating on writing with you.


  4. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Wow. You nailed New Hamster all right, Archon. Spot on. 🙂


  5. […] a little bit of history, a piece of ephemera, a 1942, WW-II ticket for a British bus line, in my first ‘Olio’ post.  It had been used as a bookmark, and fell out of an old hardcover book that I was […]


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