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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Saw this ‘Irrational Element Table’ just now and it made the iced tea come up my nose!

The Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense!

Irrational-elements

For the full interactive version, click here!

I love nerd humour!

Thanks to the amazing Crispian Jago for this gem.

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Into The Wild Wood

Words & Images by Duncan George

(Duncan George Photography)

If you close your eyes and imagine a wood in a dark fairy tale, what do you see, smell and hear?

wistmans-wood-1(Image credit: Duncan George)

In your minds eye do twisted and sinister trees thick with moss and lichens form anthropomorphic shapes in billowing fog? Underfoot do you struggle for grip on treacherous granite boulders? Perhaps a far off stream provides an aural accompaniment with the the odd and inexplicable crack of a twig sounding ominously close. Does a dank earthy smell pervade the air?

wistmans-wood-2(Image credit: Duncan George)

Just to bring you back to reality, such woods do actually exist and not (just) in Transylvania or some far flung part of Asia but in the UK. On Dartmoor there are three remote high moorland copses of stunted oaks. I think there may be more in Cumbria. The one I have visited on Dartmoor many times is the best known, Wistman’s Wood. The name Wistman’s is thought to derive from wisht-man meaning haunted or pixie-led. The site is believed to have a human involvement dating back to Druid times. When seen in thick fog, in the half light of dawn or dusk it’s easy to see why much folklore and tales of the supernatural surrounds the place.

wistmans-wood-3(Image credit: Duncan George)

It is a fantastic location for art and photography. One of the aspects I like about it is, off-season when I tend to visit, it feels so remote. All the shots in this blog post were taken on Friday morning last week (Nov 2012) and the only other person I saw there (which is unusual in itself, normally I don’t see anyone) was an artist taking photographs to act as as a sketchbook.

wistmans-wood-5(Image credit: Duncan George)

Although Wistman’s isn’t hard to get to in the way that remote Scottish mountains are for example it’s still a challenging drive and hike on Dartmoor in thick fog. Twice out on the moor with visibility down to 2 metres or so I’ve lost my bearings completely and had to use a compass to reorient myself (not something I ever had to do in my previous career in media!). Normally one could rely on the sound of the West Dart River as a guide but fog deadens sound. It’s easy to understand how people can get into trouble in an environment which can quickly switch from benign to malevolent.

wistmans-wood-4(Image credit: Duncan George)

What draws me to the wood is the magical feel of the place. The trees whilst quite small in comparison to normal oaks are fantastically contorted with a myriad of branches, each one being completely unique. Of course every tree is unique but here whilst they share the same genealogy each looks as though penned by a different artist . Furthermore they don’t resemble those in ‘normal’ and more uniform woods and forests.  Wistman’s is located on a hillside strewn with boulders and both trees and granite are coated in a carpet of moss. Some of the trees are draped in lichens as though dressed for Christmas. I’ve never seen lichens so resplendent in any other location. It used to be said that it was alive with adders although thankfully I haven’t seen any. It would be unfortunate to say the least if I set my camera down on a nest.

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All text and photos copyright Duncan George.

To see more of this gentleman’s amazing photography, I urge you to go check out his website. You will not be disappointed!

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This is my 400th blog post here at Kosher Samurai!

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My first post was on May 18, 2011.

I’ve been having a great time ever since writing and putting up my thoughts, ideas, musings, etc.

Check out my ‘sister blog,’ Vampyre Fangs!

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And here is a shameless plug for my Twitter experiment, a journal entry style post apocalyptic novel, The Great Dead North.

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I hope you enjoy reading my stuff as much as I love writing it.

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Until my next post, thank you for reading my blog.

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Why I Miss the South: Dixie Envy

blue-ridge-mountains-sunset-from-southern-blue-ridge-parkway-dave-allen(Blue Ridge Mountains Sunset – Image credit: Dave  Allen)

In my Twitter novel, The Great Dead North, two characters (the Narrator “Me” and his wife, “Callie-Ann” [aka Cally] from Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina) have the following exchange one morning…

Me: I take it with that bat-like hearing of yours, you heard me & Shara talking. Cally: I did. Me: And? Cally: I married the best Dad ever!

Me: Thenk yew. Cally: Oh, please. Me: Not even close? Cally: Honey? When you try to talk Southern… it only makes you sound more Northern.

Me: If a couple moved to The South & had kids, would the kids be Southern? Cally: If a cat had kittens in the oven, would they be biscuits?

I sigh heavily. Callie-Ann grins. Cally: You got Dixie Envy, that’s what you got. Me: Dixie Envy? Cally: The clearest case I have ever seen.

Me: Any cure? Cally: Well, marrying me & putting a bun in my oven is definitely a step in the right direction, I can tell you that right now

It’s kinda like a similarly-phrased concept in Freudian psychoanalysis which, in contemporary culture, sometimes refers inexactly or metaphorically to women who are presumed to wish they were men (or at least have their equipment).

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I’ve gone on at some length as to why I love The South and I think it is fair to say that what spurs that love on is, in part, Dixie Envy.

It’s been a good many years since I was way down yonder in the land of cotton.

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I wish I was in Dixie.

TheSouthWillRiseAgain

I miss it.

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I love it.

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I envy it.

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English is not an easy language.

Having said that, while English is not my first language (Italian is), I am glad I was born and raised in an English speaking country.

crazy-English

I would hate to have to learn English coming from another country and language.

My mother did it and I really admire her for it. Well done, Ma!

My daughter teaches English in Israel, and manages the Netanya learning centre for Wall Street English. I don’t know how her students master English and not go crazy.

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There, Their, They’re…

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Why is this so hard, people!?

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I mean really!

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But use them properly… and I just melt!

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My dear friend and professional colleague, EM, and I were sitting in a courtroom the other day, discussing simple homespun adages from The South.

We both have a soft spot for pithy precepts and little aphorisms that gladden the heart and give us words by which to live.

A well-coined phrase from south of the Mason-Dixon line [1] speaks to our depths.

Here’s an example…

Those who stir the shit… should be made to lick the spoon!

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Someone should put that one on a doily.  Ah’m serious!

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[1] The Mason–Dixon line (or Mason’s and Dixon’s line) was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. It is a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (then part of Virginia). (Wikipedia)

In popular usage, the Mason–Dixon line symbolizes a cultural boundary between the Northeastern and the Southern United States (Dixie).

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