Archive for May, 2016

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(Continued from my previous post)

A knock on the door and they look each other in vague uneasiness.


Sancho(sniffs): The grim reaper must be new to his trade. I smell violets

(Sancho cocks his ear): I hear his mincing steps. I betcha he is a cross dresser. Silk underskirts and tap tap of high heels!

(Yankee and Commissar Red cringe and lurch towards the headboard and hide).

Don Quixote with a spirited effort leaps out of the bed.

DQ: It is my inamorata Sancho! Can’t you see. At last my lady Love has taken pity on me.

(Knock is heard again)

Don Quixote takes over the situation and he directs Sancho as of old.

DQ: Sancho, draw the chair to the center.

Sancho: I would rather stand, master.

DQ: Your skull has gone soft. (aside) That is what living does to people.

(imperiously) Do as you are told!

(Sancho does as told.)

This is for my Lady Dulcinea del Toboso.

(Turning once again to Sancho he points to his bed)Get in there!

(Sancho crosses himself.)

SP: this is ill omen . This is death bed!

Don Quixote: You stay in bed and make yourself scarce!

SP: What will you do, master?

DQ: Do?( rhapsodic) This is sweet annunciation!

Love that makes sweet communion

Between heaven and earth

Has come in sweet treads that

Scarcely harm the green swards,-

And she is here! By all my saints

I shall genuflect and kiss

Her foot and cool this fervid brow

From dew of heaven!

(Knocks heard this time rather urgent)

DQ: Anon, anon

He opens the door with a flourish.

(Dulcinea dressed to the nines in a rather coquettish swing traipses into the room. Unheedful of Don Quixote who stands pole-axed she heads to the death bed. A pause. She says),

Dulcinea: How dare you, varlet!

You stain my lovers bed

With your sweat and dirt.

Sancho (weakly), “I am Don Quixote

Indeed I am. All my life I put my life

to uphold your honor lady-

My face is a stranger to thee

Why now you cavil

My last leave-taking

With hoity-toity manner?

I am that knight non-pareil

The Giant slayer and

Indefatigable in love,-

Of mournful countenance

I shall abjure forever

For a kiss.

Dulcinea: In my cask of souvenirs

Sweetened with tears and regrets

Of love that I held sublime

I have but one image

Of a knight, etched by his fame-

He is lean and lank,

In worldly sum not worth a bean

But his heart has seared

My soul and I can vouch,

He is farthest from the sweaty toad

That has stealthily crept under

The coverlet of my master

Don Quixote is his name!

(Don Quixote steps in.)

Thousands pardon I crave

My Lady Love, scales have

Fallen from my eyes. Life

Had dulled my wits to think

You lived in a castle. No my lady

What comparison holds heaven

With a castle crumbling with moss

And ivy?

I rather deceived me

that you moved

In enchanted circles

of hidalgos, in silk breeches

Smelling rather garlic

And small talk.

You belong indeed

In the stellar regions

With angels at your bidding.

(Dulcinea in wonder puts her hand out. DQ kneels and kisses it reverently)

I was indeed at my deathbed

But your visitation was

Preordained from above.

Dread of life

Hauled me by my own petard;

But Death cleared my head

To say the least.

(To Sancho) I am a realist

To say the least.

(Don Quixote sharply claps hands)

Out, out my dear sirs

Begone this instant!

(The Capitalist and the Commissar come out and file out of the room.)

Sancho, leave us alone. (Sancho exits)

(With a bow to his lady)

Within this death bed we shall talk,

My sweetest lady, of life and  death

the lovers swoon as read in romances

Of old, I shall lead you.

Come, have no fear. (Blows the lights out)


Benny May 20, 2016



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(A rather dark room with heavy draperies and our hero in bed with a rather ornate and heavy candelabrum on a side-board behind,  guttering candles and a melancholy air supplied by courtesy of  Sancho at bedside, waiting )

Quixote: All search must end in vain, my good squire

Blow the candle out: Let me not bear the glare

The indifferent has brought unasked, and it is fame

They have left, isn’t it a shame?

Sancho: Knight of mournful visage, you were

As far as I remember; Oh cease your murmur

The world loves a hero, yes sir they do

I am Squire Haystack for my girth and you, sir

Quixote (weakly): Knight Beanpole

Sancho in unison: For your lance, That was LOL!

(Knock on the death Chamber:)

Quixote: See if it is Good Ole Devil?

Sancho returns with a Yankee, who is all in a dither

The Capitalist: “Here is a blank check sir, your fame

Deserves due care: Take silver

But leave your fame oh dear sir

for me to exploit,- it is a cinch

(aside) How do I clinch

A deal with the dead, Fie!

Am I all that heartless,

But a dollar is a dollar

I will dangle an offer he can’t refuse

Quixote: Oh you drool at your mouth

In north it must suffice

if a man had bills to buy and sell

But with the dead one genuine emotion

will many sins conceal.

Sancho, give my good fellow a fine cambric

So he shall wipe an honest tear

To please me for the last leave taking.

Stranger: I am a good fellow if you say so.

I shall cry all the more

if you refuse my offer.

Sancho: Gringo! Do I throw you out

Or buy me with a better offer?

The Capitalist: Make your master

Sign on the dotted line and leave

all rights on his name a trademark

I shall show what Capitalism can do.

(A knock on the door)

Commissar Red is my name

I left all good manners with October

Revolution, Death to capitalist pigs

But Sancho, you and I are comrades.

Don Quixote  cannot die till

He receives the Order of Lenin

from me in person.

Sancho: ‘What Order that be Red? Is it for my master?

Red: Don Quixote fought single handed,

The Capitalist Ogre Sir Windmill

Stood for oppression and under his tax the poor

Ate nothing but bread of tears.

Comrade Quixote took him on in single combat and won.

Sancho: With a little help from me.

Red: He is so heroic

He could not have a servant to wait on him….

Sancho: But

Red: We shall rewrite the history!

So you are an imposter; Be gone this instant!

Sancho to his master: Oh master,  Tell me

Shall I uncomrade him with a thrust

Of your trusty lance, or make your dying hour

A ceaseless struggle with two mis-beggotten scum of the earth?







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There is so much common between plants and humans we might think we move about in parallel worlds. We exhale carbon dioxide and they return oxygen to us. How they manage the world in essentials has a parallel narrative in us. We draw our sustenance from the soil which the plant also does; we conserve so do plants an example of which are those autumnal livery they wear. We thrive in our ability create support in times of necessity and establish contacts with others in terms of what they can add to us in terms of security and exchange ideas; the plants also form such preferential  association with animals as well as  other plants.

We are biased towards visual and auditory signals than chemical imaging we fail to appreciate the plant life in its working. The plants communicate with one another. Take spotted knapweed for instance. Its roots secrete a chemical called catechin that can kill other plants. This triggers them to produce free radicals which sweeps from roots upwards causing cell death. In another case when lima bean pants are attacked by spider mites they call out with distress signals that bring on carnivorous mites to eat up the spider mites. The lima plants in the neighborhood also receive the signal to do the same thing.

Our preferences for persons do not fall within what we would call rational behavior. Love at first sight? (Even before a woman has spoken a word man gets chemical messages: phermeron compounds set off to create signals in the brain.) VNO is located in the lower part of your nose much lower than olfactory cells and are tuned to receive such signals. What does the message say?’ I feel excited!’ Naturally you fall in love. Whereas plants do not err in this they send messages which are lures so they can procreate. Along with blossom colors and shapes, scents attract the bees, wasps flies,butterflies, beetles,moths birds,bats-even mice and lizards if necessary, so 90% of the flowering plants to reproduce. Pollinators are welcome. For every dollar a Quebec apple farmer invests in honey bees to service an orchard crop value goes up by (by 2004 conversion rates) $185. North Dakota sunflower farmers get more and better seeds. From fruits to nuts a big chunk of our diet relies on the interactions between pollinators and flowers.

(ack:Joel Achenbach.NGC-Feb,’o4)



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Don’t judge me by my size, I am Jack the giant slayer; treat me bad I can fell even a Hercules from within.

I am a three pound wonder, a gland tucked under the right side of your body. Remember the twelve labors of Hercules? I was right there while each task he performed, -and how did I do it, I fired up his muscles.  It is far more wondrous than any of his physical feats. I have at my disposal 24 hour supply of glycogen or animal starch, from which I convert a part into glucose, the fuel for muscles and feeds it into the blood stream.

Each second some 10 million of his blood cells die and these need to be disposed of; the spleen breaks them down as easily as an used car sent to the landfill: I help salvage the component parts such as iron for re-use in building new blood cells. While chopping the many headed Hydra, had  Hercules cut himself  he would have bled to death but I produce fibrinogen and prothrombin that help clot blood; what’s more If it were not for antibodies    he would have died while cleaning up the Augean stables from  the bite of a horse-fly. Anti-bodies fight invading viruses and bacteria. Each second what I perform is astounding that I can vouch for the Titan was preserved despite the eagle that Zeus sent to peck at me.

I am all fired up when Hercules flexes his muscles, for instance when he was faced with the Cretan bull. Of course I had to see that lactic acid which was accumulating as a result of burning the glucose, did not poison the hero. What do I do? Presto, I simply converted the lactic acid back into glycogen! I am a miracle worker. I shall not waste time bending a  spoon like Uri Geller. He is a mountebank while I, a 24- carat miracle-worker.

When my hero sits down to tuck in a hearty meal I cannot sit simply still: I shoot bile towards his intestine in order to break down the fat. Intestinal enzymes break fat into fatty acids, which is brought to me, ugh! it is like the man who sits on his thunder-stool and  is given back all that he vacated in its glorious colors. I am not the one to cringe even in the face of such provocation. A stoic that I am I convert into body fat. When one is called obese think of what I have done for him. Out of the depths I cry,  De Profundis what have I done to merit this?( Next time cut out the fat from your meat, won’t you?) Lean meat puts a smile in me, figuratively of course, for I make do protein from it into amino acids. I reconstruct them into plasma proteins, and these help build body’s tissue-building needs. Like lactic acid that I mentioned earlier Protein digestion bring us another problem: ammonia. I convert into urea and it is flushed out through kidneys.

Had Hercules quaffed dodgy wine It was my task to detox  him and oh he would have no idea that I did him further service in keeping his hormone balance. If he did not suffer from thyroid imbalance he owes thanks to me for clearing off the excess of hormone.

I store for him like a banker the essential vitamins, A,D, the B complex.Also when excess blood is around we hold this like a vault for storing excess cash, lest it should tax the Herculean heart.

With regards to the energy we supply to the heart of Hercules we provide 25% of the total. Only the lungs have a richer supply but like Hertz we try harder. We keep moving what we receive through arteries, freshly oxygenated blood which from the intestine comes to us for filtering before sent to the heart.

I mentioned Hercules for one special reason: He helped Prometheus who was plagued by the winged tormentor for 30 years by killing it. Then of course little did he know that I can always regenerate though pecked at by the eagle. As much as 90 % of liver has been removed in some cancer cases but I have always grown back which is quite a feat. If Hercules had been elevated to the Pantheon of gods, the credit of which he owes no little to me.

(ack: JD Ratcliff-RD Feb’64 originally pub.AMA)





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If a child lives with criticism he learns to condemn….

If a child lives with hostility he learns to fight…

If a child lives with fear he learns to be apprehensive..

If a child lives with pity he learns to feel sorry for himself

If a child lives with ridicule he learns to be shy…

If a child lives with jealousy he learns what envy is…

If a child lives with shame he learns to feel guilty….


If a child lives with encouragement he learns to be confident…

If a child lives with tolerance he learns to be patient…

If a child lives with praise he learns to be appreciative…

If a child lives with acceptance he learns to love…

If a child lives with approval he learns to like himself…

If a child lives with recognition he learns to set a goal for himself…

If a child lives with sharing he learns about generosity…

If a child lives with honesty and fairness he learns what truth and justice are…

If a child lives with security he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him…

If a child lives with friendliness he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live…

If you learn to live with serenity your child will live with peace of mind…

(Ack:Dorothy Law Nolte/Reader’s Digest)

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Harlequin Ducks- in watercolor

Oh Lonesome Me!  Polar bear watercolor wet on wet technique

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What progress is it  if it gags on its own bottlenecks? It has not delivered its promises.

Progress sounds good on paper. Fame and Fortune await whoever has a genuine idea, drive and innovate. Recently Dr. Craig Wright came forward to claim he is the founder of bitcoin. Later he had to defend himself and said that proof would be forthcoming. Later we are told it is not so. What a pother!

We are children of a cashless society. In the Internet Age where we all have learned to reduce our reliance on paper, we became computer savvy. Instead of snail mail we send electronic messages that are quicker. Rather than waste our time shopping around we do online shopping and pay with credit cards. If such innovations keep working their way through it must create subtle shifts in us. It is natural to expect our lives as a result would qualitatively improve. Is it not? The job statistics in April 2012 indicate one in two of graduates fresh out of colleges are underemployed or unemployed. Our youth have come off worse. What of the old? Here is a news headline of Feb, 21-2012 For boomers, it’s a new era of ‘work till you drop’ (AP-Los Angeles)

According to US College Graduate Employment Study by Accenture Strategy in 2015 found that Forty-nine percent of 2013-14 graduates consider themselves unemployed.

Technology let us fall in with the latest trends and if we thought we have become progressive we are right. Progress made us connect with any part of the world. Connectivity is wonderful. Suppose we are looking for a career change. Under normal circumstances we only need our work experience connect with the openings most suited to our talent. But now? Is it not terrible to be told all those positions are gone?

Post-war generation or the baby boomers did not account for the economic downturn of 2008. Naturally we expected as the older generation before us to retire when we reached the age of sixty-five. Oh no progress has got in a downward spiral! The post-war boom helped us to go up in financial security and along with it in our expectations also rose. We have been riding the slipstream of many forces unknown to us expanding and contracting while we thought progress was letting us off easy thanks to the Internet. Now we find technology cannot put jobs back. Our progress has hit a blank wall.

Progress of man did not account for its hidden costs. If we look closely we shall see we have come worse off in great many areas.

Let us look at life expectancy of ordinary folks.

Between 1990 and 2010, life expectancy of low-educated white women declined by 1.2 years. That 1.2 years is about 13 years of progress washed away, so what seems to be minor changes in life expectancy signal really big problems going on underneath the surface.

“If we look at the trends in the US in an international context, it becomes even more stark. US women are at the bottom in terms of other high-income countries on these measures. So we’ve really fallen off; the trends have really diverged in an international context which tell us there’s something unique going on in the US, especially for US women.

“Raj Chetty and colleagues came out with a very big study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April looking at the association between income and life expectancy in the US between 2001 and 2014.

“They showed rich women outlive poor women by ten years. They also showed that these gaps between the rich and poor in terms of survival have been growing over time. So over the period that they looked at, the richest Americans gained about three years of life expectancy, while the poorest had no increase.

If the nation cannot fix the American dream at least in terms of wellbeing of women there must be something insidious in the way progress is sold to the man on the street.




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Re.5:vs.4 ‘And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders said unto me,: Weep not! Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David hath prevailed to open the book and loose the seven seals thereof.”


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I am busy with an illustration from the book of Revelation (Chapter-5) The Lamb slain before the foundation and the book with seven seals. I love having a lot of grays at hand. I have the whole composition in my head; by tomorrow I hope to finish the work.

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