The Frozen Roll Returns

My wife didn’t move the frozen roll off the porch, but she did it rediscover it, while looking out the kitchen window, on the opposite side of the house.

The roll is now in the Japanese maple. This favors the original squirrel theory and (probably) exonerates Black Cat.

Read other posts about the frozen roll.

The Mysterious Frozen Rolls

I tossed some old rolls outside, next to our house, for the squirrels to eat.

Two nights later, our dog Bones discovered that one of the rolls had been carried over the fence and into the yard. Frozen roll, Bones thought, looking at me with high excitement.

“Leave it,” I said.

He came inside bereft, wondering why I’d tossed his discovery back outside the fence. I gave him a treat and he gave me a look: That roll, though.

Next day, the roll appeared on our front porch, as if to taunt Bones through the window. A second roll sat on the porch railing. Presumably squirrels had carried them there, but why had they abandoned them?

It seemed like a cat move. There’s the neighborhood black cat, you see. We call him Black Cat. He passes the house every day and Bones goes berserk, barking at the cat and savaging a rubber carrot with his jaws.

Black Cat could not care less. And yet another neighborhood cat once left a dead sparrow on our stoop as (I believe) a peace offering: “There is tension between the dog and I. Here is a sparrow.”

Did Black Cat leave the rolls as offerings to Bones?

Next morning, the primary roll was gone again. It’s possible my wife moved it off the porch. I keep forgetting to ask her.

Read other posts about the frozen roll.

The Materials of Solitude

Every work of art is one half of a secret handshake, a challenge that seeks the password, a heliograph flashed from a tower window, an act of hopeless optimism in the service of bottomless longing…

Art, like fandom, asserts the possibility of fellowship in a world built entirely from the materials of solitude.

— Michael Chabon, from Manhood for Amateurs


Pine Needle Tree Decoration

Hundred of needles are falling off our Christmas tree this year. Instead of throwing them out, I made a little tree of them.

I drew a pine-tree shape with Elmer’s glue on a cedar shake I had in the basement, then sprinkled the needles onto the glue, mimicking those glitter and glue art projects we did in kindergarten.

I burned the trunk into the wood with a soldering iron. The burnt cedar had a good smell.

Next I stained the surrounding wood surface (after realizing it would have been easier to do that before I added the glue and needles) and, after the stain and glue had dried, gave the whole thing repeated coats of a clear adhesive spray.

I’m hoping the adhesive spray will prevent the needles from browning. Either way, I like how the needle tree turned out. It’ll make a good decoration for the season.

Remedying My Embarrassing Ignorance

I’m starting a daily* study of general knowledge–the common coins, in other words, of a rich education. This is stuff I should already know, or used to know but forgot.

I’ll use these books:

  1. The Story of Art
  2. A Little History of the World
  3. The Intellectual Devotional
  4. The Intellectual Devotional: American History
  5. The Intellectual Devotional: Modern Culture
  6. The Intellectual Devotional: Biographies
  7. The Intellectual Devotional: Health

The first two were written by E. H. Gombrich and they’re great primers. I’ll read a bit of one every day. The five devotionals have page-a-day entries, so I’ll read one page of each. My daily reading will take less than half an hour.

I’ll likely forget much of what I read, but something’s bound to stick, and that’ll be more than I knew before.

Today I read about the APGAR test for newborns, John Smith, hieroglyphics, Sigmund Freud… I can’t even remember what subjects I read about five minutes ago. Hold on, I’ll check.

Okay. I also read about Khufu, the Nile, and the alphabet. Feel free to quiz me if you see me walking around looking smug.

(I read that Freud had a brief zoological stint and is credited with discovering the testicles of eels. This seemed too good to be true so I dug deeper online. He apparently tried to find eel testicles for a month but, like many before him, failed.)

* I’m starting mid-December rather than January 1 because I know myself. I’ll miss days. I’ll be lazy or sullen other days. But if I get a two-week jump on a 365-day program, maybe I’ll stay on track for the end of 2017.