Category Archives: Paul’s Musings


If you do not care for demure introductions to sensational stories then just jump past what follows to the sanguine meat of the feature itself.  It begins directly below the photograph of the Moclips Weather Service ca. 1909

Today – and in the interests of posterity we will make a recorded note of it – this day, Saturday June 25, 2010, this Blog’s own Jean Sherrard heads out to the Pacific Coast to meet, dine and share more Moclips stories with members of the Museum of the North Beach and their heritage leader Kelly Calhoun.  Jean is also making this visit to describe the joys and trials of making our book “Washington Now and Then.”  And he is driving that scenic highway to thank Kelly and the citizens of and near Moclips for the records they set in distributing the book.  Moclips, of course, was one the subjects that we featured in our book.

The primary Moclips image used in our book "Washington Then and Now." It shows the damage to the north end of the Moclips Beach Hotel following the storm of 1911. (Click to Enlarge)

We add what follows as evidence of our continued fascination with Moclips history.  Recent and disturbing news from Kelly had Jean and I putting our heads together – feeling concerned.  His letter about ghost busters visiting the museum and their, it seems, success in finding a few spirits to bust, helped us to recall some Moclips news reports, oddly out of an old London newspaper, that surfaced while we were – now long ago – assembling our book. While there was no place to make note of them in “Washington Then and Now” we do now.  Although we could not recover the clips themselves, we remembered, between us, their particulars and, with the support of Grays Harbor historian Gene Woodwick, have confidently assembled the story below, which is actually three short stories concerning Moclips fated nights, first that  of its biggest storm – its “One Hundred Year Storm” of Feb. 12 1911.

The message attached to this pre-storm promotional postcard is unclear and so, given the events that followed, troubling.

How soon we have forgotten.  Even long ago, in the respected depression-time 1941 publication “Washington, A Guide to Washington State,” no mention was made either of the 1911 storm or the weird events we will soon reconstruct below.  Instead, Moclips is described briefly as “a busy little settlement, supported largely by its shingle mill.  The Moclips High School serves the oceanside region north of Grays Harbor, and its gymnasium is used for community gatherings.  On the northern outskirts is the Moclips Fire Observatory (open), atop a 175-foot fir tree.”  We think it unlikely that such an observatory would have survived the events of 1911.

The Moclips weather service, circa 1909.


In Moclips, and now nearly a century ago, between the great Pacific Coast poundings of 1911 and 1913, storms whose damage is recorded in spectacular photos at the time, “Moclips Mysteries” occurred which remain uncanny to this day.

The most alarming of these took place on a small dairy farm.  The family name is barely remembered for they changed it and moved away soon after the events described below.  But in 1911 they were known as the Van Hooverens.  (This is confirmed by Grays Harbor historian Gene Woodwick who rarely makes things up. Readers who have combed her most recent book Ocean Shores will, we wager, not have found a single mistake in it.  We have attached her addendum, near the bottom.)

The Van Hooverens brief stay near Moclips may have as much to do with their eldest daughter Arabella’s best chances as with milk and cheese. She was an enthused student of the Moclips Finishing School that rented several rooms on the top or third floor of the north wing of the Moclips Beach Hotel.  After only six weeks of study she gave her first “Famous Adagios” recital, which was appreciated for its steadfast sincerity and the length of the program. The destructive storm put an end to the school, and immediate hopes for the Van Hooveran’s daughter of moving on to the Portland Music Conservatory.  We know, of course, that it also put an end to much else in Moclips.

Apparently Arabella taking a break from her studies.

The Van Hooverens were a first generation Dutch family.  They are also believed to have produced the first Edam cheeses in the Pacific Northwest, although aside from one small fragment of ephemera this evidence is anecdotal, which is to say that it is a story also told by the admired historian Woodwick.  No actual cheese or cheeses survive, just part of a cheese wrapper that reads in fragment “Eat’em Eda,” which surely would be completed as “Eat’em Edam Cheeses.”   Their mysterious story follows.

Before the storms, Moclips was a busy destination for the new motoring classes.

On the fateful Sunday of Moclips’ biggest storm day, February 12, 1911, two of their finest milk cows disappeared from their stalls.  The next morning, Jan (probably for Jandon or Jandor) Van Hooveren, finding the barn door open and the cows, Marjolin and Mijn, missing, raised a cry.  Jan, his wife (Annika or Anneke), two daughters, and three sons scoured the farm and surrounding fields for these valuable animals.  The melk boer (milk farmer) began to lose hope that neither hide nor hair would be found of either, but then before sundown on Monday the 13th the cows were stumbled upon by a young couple who had hurried to the coast from Wenatchee.  Having heard of the storm’s fury, particularly visited upon Moclips, they rushed to the site aboard the Great Northern Railroad and were already exploring wreckage and the brusied landscape when along the beachfront they came upon the two cows, side by side, and partially buried in the sand. Further examination determined that both animals had died, not from any visible trauma, but most unusually from loss of blood.  While neither showed obvious injuries, each carried two small wounds on the neck, located proximate to major arteries. It was surmised that the complete exsanguinations of the cows was accomplished through these wounds alone.

A Dead Cows Simulation Only

Jean and I both remembered that the clipping on this extraordinary event was headlined either “Two Cows Give Blood Up” or “Two Cows Give Up Blood.”  Jean came upon it first while researching for the book “Washington Then and Now” but that is long ago and our memories of all this may be twisted in some points.  At that time we, again, made note of it to Northwest historian Gene Woodwick who had also heard of the “exsanguinations sensations”, as she put it and expressed it with an ease that was way beyond either of us.  But then the regional historian still knew little more about what was done with the cows or why the Van Hooverens were also swept so thoroughly from the community. (Persons doubting the above or wanting more information may contact Gene – if they can find her.)  We remember that the story was not clipped from any regional paper but rather appeared in a London daily.  Most likely that first story went over the wire and got little more than that one London chance for being published.  That was but the first mysterious event.

Moclip's Main Street with apparently some early damage. Note the Moclips Hotel is still intact at the rear, and to this side of it a local stands with her cow, perhaps a Van Hooveren. (Please Click to Enlarge)

A second and uncannily related event also involves a death by loss of blood – this time human blood, and again nearby Moclips.  After Bjorn Sandberg was violently struck on his skull and knocked from his wagon by a tree limb during the 1913 storm, his son ran home to alert his mother Inge. When they returned less than an hour later they were startled to find the father-husband bleached as white as the foam pushed ashore by the storm. The discovery sent mother and child into shock.  They clutched each other throughout the night and into the following day and could not be pried apart even by other loving hands.  Without the ability to express their wishes or give instructions, the body was left lying in the road where the father had first been knocked from his wagon.  As with the bovines Marjolin and Mijn, Van Hooverens’ drained livestock, Bjorn was also left bloodless.

The 1913 storm that finished the destruction of this secular temple of both ocean shore excitement and reflection.

The third and again resonant event involved Martha Connelly, a young Sunday school teacher visiting from Aberdeen two years later in 1915. While visiting her married sister Dorothy (whose last name may have been Perkins) in Moclips, Miss Connelly agreed to mount a Christmas pageant with the primary school children. Late one evening, after a long and exhausting rehearsal, Martha was alone at the schoolhouse, putting up streamers and “festoons for the faithful” of all sorts. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of a figure passing by the window and assumed it was her brother-in-law Vernon, come to escort her home. In an account written up in a family “vanity history” (i.e. genealogy), Martha described putting out the lamps and stepping outside onto the schoolhouse porch.  As she fumbled for her keys, footsteps approached.  She glanced about, expecting to see Vernon, but in an instant, a dark figure (“all claws and teeth,” she claimed) leapt atop her forcing her to the ground.  Powerful fingers held down one of her arms.  Expecting the worst, the devout Martha closed her eyes and prayed while making the sign of the cross with her free hand. To her surprise, after feeling a sudden piercing but not unpleasant pain in her neck, as if two sharp knitting needles had been skillfully slipped into the side of her neck, the “thing” fled.

Vernon Perkins had indeed been sent by Martha’s sister to bring her home for a late supper. Save for her saving from prayer and cross-marking, Martha, too, may have ended her life sucked dry of blood. Vernon saw the thing but barely, for it was already in flight when he arrived and disappeared quickly from his lantern light.  It was “rat like” in appearance, though it would have been the largest rat ever seen in the northwest coast being, Vern guessed, some six feet long.  It was dressed elegantly too – “dressed to kill.” Martha bore those two little scars for the rest of her life.  She felt most fortunate at having survived the attack and proud as well.  Following the attack she did not continue with the Christmas pageant, but later learned to enjoy telling the story of her night with what she insisted was a vampire.

Martha Connelly by coincidence with a cow.

Although, it seems, long forgotten – or perhaps repressed – by the community there survives another belief, which may be related.  During the great storm of Feb 12, 1911 that destroyed most of his great Moclips Beach Hotel, Dr. Edward Lycan fell into a panic, or rather a trance and through the duration of the storm he seemed to be without pain or anguish. Those who cared for him those few hours when he was incongruously serene but witless were puzzled then by his repeated and kind advice: “They want our blood, you know.  It’s the blood they want.”  When told of this later the Aberdeen doctor had neither memory of his temporary madness nor any explanation for the message he insisted on repeating. Several Moclips citizens, however, put their own interpretation on the doctor’s brief lapse. They had heard – and independently – the gale-force winds of that winter storm howling “cud, cud, chew on cud!” or alternatively, “stud, put them out to stud!” One of them, a bartender heard a different refrain.  He insisted that it was “We want blood sausage?” that was being shouted and the bartender felt pretty certain it was a group of Spanish sailors, stranded by the gale and pining for their native chorizo.   Yet another heard the storm cry aloud “blood blood, we want blood” so plaintively and with such compassion that she only wished that she might that night have given to the winds some of her own blood.

Although Jean and I agreed to put our “heads together” to recreate the above – and without the original sources – we are still confident of the Connelly, Sandberg and Dr. Lycan stories, however, we cannot speak with such certainty for the grotesquely-sized exsanguinations of the Hooverens’ poor Marjolin and Mijn.   For those milk cows historian Woodwick’s addendum, which now follows is most helpful.

"The life of farm animals along the Grays Harbor Coast." Gene Woodwick

Van Hooveren’s Cow (from Gene Woodwick)

As you know I am adequately equipped to relate this historical information regarding the Van Hooveren’s cow shown in the attached image. You can see by the photo the farm was located on a meander channel near the Moclips River. The family was famed – although briefly – for its dairy cattle and their products which they supplied to the Moclips Hotel.

As is well known, farmers of that era fertilized their fields with the abundance of spawning salmon from the rivers.  Van Hooveran’s were no exception. The purity of the Quinault blueback salmon oil not only produced a rich milk from which the family made excellent cheese, but it also produced pigs with a moist fat content that made the hams and pork sought after. The Hotel featured the Van Houvern’s bacon on the dining room breakfast menu.

The Moclips Madness cheese was easily broken down into salmon balls that accompanied the fine bakery products from the Moclips Bakery.  Although some thought the pure milk a little too fishy for their taste, others touted the health benefit of the milk so rich in vitamin D.  Further south of Moclips where Dr. Chase operated the Iron Springs Health Spa, his clientele was enamored by the Van Houvern’s milk products and would have no other.  After all, old iron bed springs, well hidden upstream from the health facility, provided a wealth of minerals enabling guests to go home full of vim and vigor.

I do hope this historical information is of great value to you and Jean.  Especially the fine photograph that illustrates so well the life of farm animals along the Grays Harbor coast.

Happy for Moclips,


Gene Woodwick, upper-right, recently with friends at Ivar's Salmon House on Seattle's Lake Union.
Another colored postcard of the ideal Moclips - the Moclips before the storms and other sensational events.

"Walking Around and Feeling Fine" Blogaddendum

Nathaniel takes an order
Nathaniel takes an order

We have learned that our friend Nathaniel, the steadfast host of the by now nearly ancient Allegro Coffee Bar in the University District (see our blog post from last Wednesday and only four posts down), has “pulled” through his operation and is now “up and walking around and feeling fine.”   That would be still in the hospital, but we are confident that he will soon move from those halls to home and then back again to the Allegro when his family permits it.

(The Allegro is either the oldest or the “next to” oldest espresso bar in Seattle, but the coffee is fresh and the pastries too.  Yes we at dorpatsherrardlomont can highly recommend the Allegro, a harbor of repast for both town and gown literati for decades.  You will easily find it’s now cozy and very European entrance in the alley 2nd door north of 42nd Street between University Way and 15th Avenue n.e., at the western border of the U.W. Campus. Test their teas and study their bulletin and notices board.)


And this afternoon, a short e-missive arrived from the man himself:

Well, the deed is done.  I’m home now licking my wounds, as it were.  It has been quite a ride and I am so impressed with the folks in attendance.  Now, onward and upward!

We also recommend, for greater acquaintance with Nathaniel and the Allegro, this video portrait.

Pan Africa to Paris

On Monday, Feb. 8th (Boy Scout’s Day) Jean and I visited Steve Sampson in Belltown as he fidgeted with his office-studio.  I took the first view below of the two of them.   The place is a-funk because Steve was at the time closing it down before returning this coming Sunday to his new home in Paris with Cynthia Rose, another good friend.

Next we came upon the stables or livery door in the alley that Jean put up on this blog a ways below this contribution.  We were on the way to the Pike Market where we shared lunch at the Pan Africa.  Jean used his “Ethiopian utensils” for the Ethiopian dish prepared.  I have often enjoyed Jean’s many good stories of his trips to Ethiopia and he will include below some highlights and illustrate a few of them too.

This evening we met with Steve again – for the last time during this visit to Seattle – in Fremont at Brad’s Swingside Cafe.  Next time Jean will see him in Paris this summer. There we found Brad revived from a long and risky stay in hospital (last fall) but now back again behind the stove where he is famous for his delicious concoctions.  The carved angel on the front porch of the Swingside was placed there in a vigil for Brad’s recovery.  The gracious guardian did well, enjoyed the stay and has decided to abide a while longer.

Jean Sherrard and Steve Sampson pose on moving day in Steve's Belltown studio.
Jean Sherrard and Steve Sampson pose on moving day in Steve's Belltown studio.
Jean to the sides handling the Ethiopian repast served to him by the hands, which have just closed the "take home" portion of Pan Africa's generous serving.
Jean to the sides handling the Ethiopian repast served to him by the hands, which have just closed the "take home" portion of Pan Africa's generous serving.
Except for what remains of the wine the Swingside table has been cleared.  Jean and Steve pose below the kitchen window where Swingside owner-shef Brad appears half-bent over his "stove."
Except for what remains of the wine the Swingside table has been cleared. Jean and Steve pose below the kitchen window where Swingside owner-chef Brad appears half-bent over his "stove."
Brad's Guardian Angel at  Brad's Swingside Cafe on Fremont Avenue.
Brad's Guardian Angel at Brad's Swingside Cafe on Fremont Avenue.

Jean writes:

As Paul suggested above, I’ll revisit a few highlights of my last trip to Ethiopia, which was, Paul neglects to mention, a number of years ago. The photos I took are pre-digital – a compact Canon point-and-shoot – scanned much later.

I last went to Ethiopia in Nov 1999, missing the Battle in Seattle, the progress of which I watched on a flickering hotel TV in Lalibela, (arguably an eighth wonder of the world – which begs the question, is there a single eighth wonder or is that a category?).

Carved out of solid rock in the 12 C. - effectively, this church stands in a pit, its roofline at ground level. Note the cut ground at bottom right and left corners.
Carved out of solid rock in the 12 C. - the Church of St. George stands in a pit, its roofline at ground level. Note the precipitous cliff edge at bottom right and left corners.

It was a little shocking after a month of travel to see images of Seattle on CNN Asia, which was the only channel available. Of course, it being CNN, the images were stock – a ferry approaching the docks with the space needle in the background.  But I’d gone to Ethiopia on a bit of a lark, hardly imagining the serendipities that would grace my trip.

Addis tannery
Addis tannery

On the plane from Rome, I sat in front of, and carried on a long sore-necked conversation with, Hussein Feyissa, who’d studied engineering in the midwest and ran his family’s burgeoning tannery in Addis.  Amazing man of industry who sent me to friends and associates all over the country.

Within my first couple of days, I booked an in-country series of flights on Ethiopian airlines, and standing at the counter, met Firew Bulbula who, it turned out, was returning to Ethiopia for the first time since 1974 when Mengistu overthrew Haile Selassie and became an Ethiopian Stalin.  We were flying the same routes and became traveling companions.  Amazingly, in 1974, Firew was a freshman at the University of Washington, ended up studying economics and teaching it at Seattle Community College by the early 80s.  We actually had friends in common, in particular, Gassim, an Oromo prince and PhD, with whom I’d spent long hours chewing the fat at the Last Exit.

Another tej bar. Firew drinks at right.
Yet another tej bar. Firew drinks at right. Tej comes either sweet or dry, but is always drunk out of flasks that look like laboratory beakers.

Firew and I toured the north together, visiting Bahir Dar and Lake Tana,

On Lake Tana
On Lake Tana

Gondar, and Lalibela. Each one deserves a short novella.  In Bahir Dar, accompanying Firew to a tej bar, where country men came of an evening to drink honey beer and sing improvised poems to the lyre.  The old man who sang of his fallen friends on the battlefield (translated in whispers by Firew) and overcome with emotion had to step outside to recover.

Gondar vista
Gondar vista

In Gondar, meeting a Japanese woman traveling alone across Ethiopia by bus, staying in roadside hotel/brothels to save money, her arms and neck covered with bites from bed bugs. Brave beyond measure, but she was the nail who refused to be pounded down.

Gondar's earliest castles date from the 15th C., and were designed and built by Portuguese architects for the emperors of Gondar (see one of them mummified below)
Gondar's earliest castles date from the 17th C., and were designed and built by Portuguese architects for the emperors of Gondar (see one of them mummified below)

The hyena man of Harar, who made a show each evening of feeding a pack of hyenas outside the walls of this medieval town (once host to the greatest of Victorian travelers and linguist/translators Richard Burton,

Rambo's house
Rambo's house

as well as Arthur Rimbaud, whose putative house is labeled ‘Rambo’s house’ and was built long decades after his death).

Harar hyenas

Heart pounding after feeding the hyenas and being plunged into unexpected darkness, I tipped him a month’s rather than a day’s wages and an Ethiopian friend told me that the hyena man said he would pray for me and my family as long as he had the good fortune of surviving the hyenas.


Near the stone meeting bell of an island monastery,


I stumbled over an unusually heavy and seemingly once-molten stone, unlike any other in the area.  After returning to the states, I sent a picture and a description of it to a geologist at Harvard, who also thought it likely to be a meteorite.

Mummy king

Or the 4 hour trip crossing Lake Tana to reach another island monastery where the mummified remains of Ethiopian emperors are enshrined, and where the monks, pissed off at my belligerent young guide, threatened to beat us up.  One of the monks had an infected ulcer on his shin and I gave him a tube of antibiotic cream as a gift, which mollified him and the others.

King's sword
King's sword

The night before I flew home, Hussein Feyissa brought me a bucket filled with fresh honeycombs as a parting gift.  I was sure that raw honey would certainly be impounded by customs and insisted that he take the bulk of it home to his wife, who loved honey, he said.  But the two of us slurped through several handful of golden brown comb before Hussein took it away.  In the middle of the night, I felt my stomach begin to roil in protest.  By the time I boarded the plane the next morning, I was munching on fistfuls of anti-diarrheal pills, just to allow me to stay seated through take off.  A month wandering Ethiopia, eating virtually everything that came my way, and it was honeycomb that leveled me.

An Ethiopian fern on the shores of Lake Tana
An Ethiopian fern looms




On PRESIDENTS DAY, February, 15, 2010 we at Dorpatsherrardlomont are distressed at how poorly Americans – generally – know the chronology of their so-far FORTY-FOUR PRESIDENTS.  To do our modest something to correct this puzzling withdrawal from the history of our nation’s leaders we mean below to teach with rhymes for children.  Certainly, many readers will find it easier to memorize verse than mere lists, and that is what you get below: honest poetry for honest ends and not as difficult as many poems used in accelerated reading programs to help primary school children’s chances for entering one or more of the best universities.  When possible the rhymes have also been chosen for added patriotic meanings, which are also suitable for children. (Anyone who has picked up a book of rhyming words knows that there certainly are plenty of competing choices that are also proper ones.)

One final precaution: the poem begins with Warren G. Harding rather than George Washington.  As you will soon discover, we needed a rhyme for “spouse’s bidding”.

Set in Chronological Order for Easier Instruction for Minors & Their Parents in the History of the American Presidency.

In the name of Warren G. Harding
Give us this day to play
And do our spouse’s bidding.
First we fetch a key to the pantheon
From the owner George Washington.

Now all together we will holler at the Talibans
From behind the shoulders of John Adams,
And then fix some things in the Constitution.
(All the changes will be signed by Thomas Jefferson.)
We may arouse the distracted James Madison
With a Stereopticon and a little canon,
And then play “Friend or Foe”
With the doctrinal James Monroe.
Let us laugh again at the Talibans
With the son, John Quincy Adams.

Now let us put some steaks on
For Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren?
Invest in a panopticon and another little canon
With William Henry Harrison,
Who died of a cold
When but 32 days old.
Let’s Run a quarter-miler
With John Tyler,
Do a somersault
With James K Polk
Whose manifest destiny
Lassoed Oregon territory,
Followed by a nap in the trailer
With Zachary Taylor.

May we please eat some more
With Millard Fillmore
And dip the chin and eyes lower
For Franklin Pierce
Who died of cirrhosis.

We will play hide and seek in the White House
With bachelor James Buchanan dressed as a mouse,
And perhaps little bo peep – such fun!
Then turn the vacuum on and run
To excite Abraham Lincoln.
Now put a chop on,
For the impeached Andrew Johnson.
Let us now dance ‘till we pant
With Ulysses S. Grant
And then press his pants.
Take in two or three costume plays
With the unpopular Rutherford B. Hayes,

But now stand far-a-field
From James Garfield,

Discuss ding an sich and things obscure
With No. 21 Chester A Arthur,
Show our pictures of Disneyland
To Grover Cleveland,
And count again the budget and  the bison
With “Billion Dollar” Benjamin Harrison.

Now Cleveland more –
He get’s his encore,
Which we break with a litany
For William McKinley.
Next get up and run about
With Theodore Roosevelt,
And this time ignore the fat
Of William Howard Taft.
Share some pheromones
With a Parisian Freudian
And Woodrow Wilson,
And pray for the pardoning
Of William G. Harding.

We open the fridge
For a thin Calvin Coolidge.
We may visit the Louvre
With Herbert Hoover,
And then fish in the West for smelt
With Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Or with Eleanor and him
And Harry S. Truman.
Yes, we do feel the military-industrial power
Of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Yet another litany
This for John F. Kennedy.
Now that’s no fun
So stuffed bears for everyone!
We’ll Visit Saigon
With Lyndon B. Johnson
And put a fix on
With Richard M. Nixon.
Next we may either continue
With west wing bourbon & shuffleboard
Or share a cheeseboard
With Betty and Gerald R. Ford.

Let us also share Coke and his brother
With James Carter.
And then entertain a gregarious vegan,
While White House guests of Ronald Reagan.
We are pleased to sit on our tooshies
Between the two Bushies
(George on the left, George on the right))
And in between them
Carve a soapstone billikin
With the handy Bill Clinton?

At last we will sit in our pajamas
With the Barack Obamas?

A VALENTINE MESSAGE (Somewhat Naughty)


[ Click Everything TWICE to ENLARGE]

Jonathan Swift, 1667 to 1745, was one of the greatest of English satirist.  Some think him the greatest.  He is best known for Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, And Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, A Tale of a Tub, but not so much for THE LADY’S DRESSING ROOM as such. This wonderful description of a woman’s boudoir is widely known as the Celia Shits Poem for its most memorable line.  I remember it from Dr.Clarence Simpson’s class in Enlightenment English Literature at Whitworth College in 1960.  Jean also “had” Clem nearly 20 years later when he attended Whitworth for fewer years than I.  Jean finished at the U.W..

When the opportunity of dedicating our book Washington Then and Now came up, we agreed that Clem would be a wise choice for he was often wise and we both liked him for it and his unfailing kindness.

I have learned that the Swift poem is new to Jean.  He remembers Clem for teaching medieval literature not Swift.  Not so long after our dedicatory lecture to Dr. Simpson and some other residents at the Des Moines retirement home where he then lived with his wife, Clem died, and she not long after he.  We print these valentines, the Swift poem and a much lesser verse by myself written a moment ago, all in honor of Professor Clem and his teaching, and also in thanks for the Irish-English satirist Swift and his exuberant example – the thoughtful or prudent use of a few naughty and/or bad words.

Reading the entire Swift poem is a delight – so go to it!  And please read it aloud.  Or will you instead surrender to the continuing decline of the West and return to the comforts of your home entertainment center, perhaps a Television choice that you agree is half-witted but sensationally so?

How so satire?!  What follows is a poem done in parody of those many verses that glory in the beauty of their own Celias – safely out of . . .


By Johnathan Swift

Five hours, (and who can do it less in?)

By haughty Celia spent in dressing;

The goddess from her chamber issues,

Arrayed in lace, brocades, and tissues.

Strephon, who found the room was void

And Betty otherwise employed,

Stole in and took a strict survey

Of all the litter as it lay;

Whereof, to make the matter clear,

An inventory follows here.

And first a dirty smock appeared,

Beneath the arm-pits well besmeared.

Strephon, the rogue, displayed it wide

And turned it round on every side.

On such a point few words are best,

And Strephon bids us guess the rest;

And swears how damnably the men lie

In calling Celia sweet and cleanly.

Now listen while he next produces

The various combs for various uses,

Filled up with dirt so closely fixt,

No brush could force a way betwixt.

A paste of composition rare,

Sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair;

A forehead cloth with oil upon’t

To smooth the wrinkles on her front.

Here alum flower to stop the steams

Exhaled from sour unsavory streams;

There night-gloves made of Tripsy’s hide,

Bequeath’d by Tripsy when she died,

With puppy water, beauty’s help,

Distilled from Tripsy’s darling whelp;

Here gallypots and vials placed,

Some filled with washes, some with paste,

Some with pomatum, paints and slops,

And ointments good for scabby chops.

Hard by a filthy basin stands,

Fouled with the scouring of her hands;

The basin takes whatever comes,

The scrapings of her teeth and gums,

A nasty compound of all hues,

For here she spits, and here she spews.

But oh! it turned poor Strephon’s bowels,

When he beheld and smelt the towels,

Begummed, besmattered, and beslimed

With dirt, and sweat, and ear-wax grimed.

No object Strephon’s eye escapes:

Here petticoats in frowzy heaps;

Nor be the handkerchiefs forgot

All varnished o’er with snuff and snot.

The stockings, why should I expose,

Stained with the marks of stinking toes;

Or greasy coifs and pinners reeking,

Which Celia slept at least a week in?

A pair of tweezers next he found

To pluck her brows in arches round,

Or hairs that sink the forehead low,

Or on her chin like bristles grow.

The virtues we must not let pass,

Of Celia’s magnifying glass.

When frighted Strephon cast his eye on’t

It shewed the visage of a giant.

A glass that can to sight disclose

The smallest worm in Celia’s nose,

And faithfully direct her nail

To squeeze it out from head to tail;

(For catch it nicely by the head,

It must come out alive or dead.)

Why Strephon will you tell the rest?

And must you needs describe the chest?

That careless wench! no creature warn her

To move it out from yonder corner;

But leave it standing full in sight

For you to exercise your spite.

In vain, the workman shewed his wit

With rings and hinges counterfeit

To make it seem in this disguise

A cabinet to vulgar eyes;

For Strephon ventured to look in,

Resolved to go through thick and thin;

He lifts the lid, there needs no more:

He smelt it all the time before.

As from within Pandora’s box,

When Epimetheus oped the locks,

A sudden universal crew

Of humane evils upwards flew,

He still was comforted to find

That Hope at last remained behind;

So Strephon lifting up the lid

To view what in the chest was hid,

The vapours flew from out the vent.

But Strephon cautious never meant

The bottom of the pan to grope

And foul his hands in search of Hope.

O never may such vile machine

Be once in Celia’s chamber seen!

O may she better learn to keep

“Those secrets of the hoary deep”!

As mutton cutlets, prime of meat,

Which, though with art you salt and beat

As laws of cookery require

And toast them at the clearest fire,

If from adown the hopeful chops

The fat upon the cinder drops,

To stinking smoke it turns the flame

Poisoning the flesh from whence it came;

And up exhales a greasy stench

For which you curse the careless wench;

So things which must not be exprest,

When plumpt into the reeking chest,

Send up an excremental smell

To taint the parts from whence they fell,

The petticoats and gown perfume,

Which waft a stink round every room.

Thus finishing his grand survey,

Disgusted Strephon stole away

Repeating in his amorous fits,

Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!

But vengeance, Goddess never sleeping,

Soon punished Strephon for his peeping:

His foul Imagination links

Each dame he see with all her stinks;

And, if unsavory odors fly,

Conceives a lady standing by.

All women his description fits,

And both ideas jump like wits

By vicious fancy coupled fast,

And still appearing in contrast.

I pity wretched Strephon blind

To all the charms of female kind.

Should I the Queen of Love refuse

Because she rose from stinking ooze?

To him that looks behind the scene

Satira’s but some pocky queen.

When Celia in her glory shows,

If Strephon would but stop his nose

(Who now so impiously blasphemes

Her ointments, daubs, and paints and creams,

Her washes, slops, and every clout

With which he makes so foul a rout),

He soon would learn to think like me

And bless his ravished sight to see

Such order from confusion sprung,

Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.

Cecelia, We Presume
Celia, We Presume


(What follows was composed in nearly effortless admiration of Jonathan Swift and his Lady’s Dressing Room, but then it much shorter.)


I cannot read your heart

And that is just the start.

I cannot read your books at all

Your taste is so abominable.

I cannot read your eyes

As if my own had styes.

I cannot read your fashions

Your clothes should be on ration.

I cannot read your lips

Nor can I read your hips

(A horse seen from a cart)

I cannot read your knees

But my how you do sneeze!

Well!! And now I hear your fart!!!

Yet I cannot read your heart.


[Click TWICE to Enlarge Everything – especially the thumbnails that follow.]

Valentines-1-(4v)-WEB Valentines-2(4V)-WEB Valentines-3-(3H)-WEB Valentines-4-(4V)-WEB

“Hello Ednah Dear 7/28/14 Nothing like what is on the other side of this card in Albany for I have not seen any one here that would have the nerve to do such. Well dear we made our 11500 test [?] and no one hurt but I was just a little timid in making some of the moves but all over now. Gee I wish you were here now for this AM was trying on your family and everyone is so strang [sic] to me but my (W) B.B. [Top of card] Dear this is one lonesome day for me. How I wish I could see you to talk to you. Your’s forever B.B.”[If we have read it correctly . . .]  Hello Ednah Dear 7/28/14  Nothin like what is on the other side of this card in Albany for I have not seen any one here that would have the nerve to do such.  Well dear we made our 11500 test [?] and no one hurt but I was just a little timid in making some of the moved but all over now.  Gee I wish you were here no for this AM was trying on your family and everyone is so strang [sic] to me but my (W) B.B.  [Top of card] Dear this is one lonesome day for me.  How I wish I could see you  to talk to you.  Your's forever B.B."
If we have read it correctly . . .the message above is faithfully typed out atop the card too.
Valentines-5-(4V)-WEB Valentines-6-(2H)-WEB



Valentines-10-(1H)-WEB Valentines-17-(3V)-WEB Valentines-9-(3V)-WEB A-Little-Aid-at-Fence-WEB


An EDGE CLIPPING as BLOGADDENDUM – a Belated Valentine sans hearts but with fit sentiment and fit timing from February, 1908.


PC 1908 WEB

Winter Color

Below are several winter colors photographed this day, the 25th of January, 2010, on a short walk of five blocks here in Wallingford.  I have named none of them, for the reason, I confess, that I know the names of very few of them.  Perhaps you will help with a comment.  But  how can we indicate them?  If I can number them below I will. [Carolyn Honke has sent a few names this way from the Azores, where she lives, and we wil include them.]

[Click to Enlarge]

No. 1
No. 1 (vinca major L.)
No. 3
No. 3 (Origanum vulgare L, majoram)
No. 4
No. 4 (camelia)
No. 5
No. 5 (dandilion)
No. 6
No. 6 (salix, willow)
No. 7
No. 7
No. 8
No. 8
No. 9
No. 9
No. 10
No. 10
No. 11
No. 11 (crocus)
No. 12
No. 12 (crocus)
No. 13
No. 13 (crocus)
No. 14
No. 14
No. 15
No. 15 (snowdrops)
No. 16
No. 16 (forsythia)
No. 17
No. 17 (ericace)
The southeast corner of First Ave. N.E. and 44th Street where the recording began.
The southeast corner of First Ave. N.E. and 44th Street where the recording began.

Digital Montage – 1 Multiplied to 16,384


[Click Once and Often Twice to Enlarge]

Below is the “base.” It is a detail from a neighbor’s bush that was planted as a screen between the sidewalk and the small house, which is one of the few in Wallingford that has gone vacant because of the burst bubble.

The bubbles – on the leaves – where photographed on an afternoon in the first week of January 2010.  Above is a detail from the same plant – or long young hedge – which was chosen because of its “scar.”  I use it as a detail in the montage that follows in order to break the regularity of it all.  (I see now that I appear hugging my camera in the biggest bubble.)  When I learn the more sophisticated powers of “Photoshop Layers” there will be more and less regular opportunities for introducing asymmetry into these montages.

Over the past three years I have done scores of these.  Much more than snowflakes they are all very different.  And they are all in process – often waiting for irregular and pleasantly confusing layers.  In four years of walking the neighborhood almost everyday I have “collected” a large library of subjects that were “captured” for these purposes.  Most of the bases are natural and photographed as found, like this one,  but a few others I have prepared by arranging sticks and flowers and such with an eye to how they will multiply.  But this multiplication is so transforming that really anything will bring forth modest and always, I think, stimulating revelations.  As you will note below the more you multiply through successive flip-flops these designs the more they head march towards texture.  With one more generation below we have a fabric suitable for a men’s sports coat (at 16,276) and with two more (as yet not rendered) perhaps a formal suit for wearing in tolerant society (65,104).  All of them from rain-splattered leaves on an unidentified bush.

Below the scar are the multiplications.  The first is a quartet.   From there we flip and flop and  jump to 4, 16, 64, 256, 1,024, 4096 and 16,384.  All have been layered with an asymmetrical piece copied and itself multiplied or flipped (or perhaps flopped) from the detailed “scar” at the top.  No. 256, especially, may be imagined as a quilt or a ceiling.  Some of this shares the pleasure of making quilts and even knitting – although it is much quicker.  Perhaps 65,104 will follow in a moment more idle than this.  If it is brought up it will seem to be nearly pure texture in which the parts cannot be seen clearly and are imagined to be in a chaotic distribution rather than arranged.  I think.  “All will be revealed.”





4096 /  This 4096 montage may serve as an hour glass for me – a “Time Remaining” calendar that encourages me to not waste time.  Now 71 I could treat the above as a check-off list for time left – if I live as long as my two oldest brothers Ted and Norm and my father Theodore.  All three lived to within months of 80.   If I count everyone of the gray “hour glasses” in the montage above as representing three days, then I may there both purview and preview the sum I have remaining for abiding here in this often enough happy veil of tears, but only if I am as fortunate as the others and do not stumble into some misery that I would rather escape than abide.



Happy Birthday (89th) to Richard, Happy New Years to All with 3 Bunnies in a Basket, Dec. 31 on the Blvd Haussman in Paris, Several Recommendations for NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS! & One Unfinished Churchyard Story.

RICH BERNER of this blog is 89 today, Jan 31, 2009 and Jean and I treated him to lunch at Ivar's Acres of Clams - "Where Clams and Culture Meet" - on Pier 54 "At the Foot of Madison Street."  Jean is on the left, I'm wearing the ribbon in my hat, and Ivar's mainstay in posing with us too.
RICH BERNER of this blog is 89 today, Dec. 31, 2009 and Jean and I treated him to lunch at Ivar’s Acres of Clams – “Where Clams and Culture Meet” – on Pier 54 “At the Foot of Madison Street.” Jean is on the left, I’m wearing the ribbon in my hat, and Lisa, an Ivar’s mainstay, in posing with us too.  All that puts Rich on the far right.  (I think that is Lisa’s hand on Rich’s left shoulder – not mine.)


(Click these cards once or sometimes twice to ENLARGE.)

Earlier on the 31st - because Paris runs 9 hours earlier than we in Seattle - Berangere took this look across the Blvd Haussmann to the rear facade of the Paris Opera House.
Earlier on the 31st – because Paris runs 9 hours earlier than we in Seattle – Berangere took this look across the Blvd Haussmann to the rear facade of the Paris Opera House.
This lavishly cute and sentimental card is about a century old, as are most of those that follow.
This lavishly cute – bunnies!!! – and sentimental card is about a century old, as are most of those that follow.
Now open door to a few resolutions that follow.
Now open your door to a few resolutions that follow. Some of these read like they were composed by Horatio Alger when he was a clerk for the Better Business Bureau in Peoria, Illinois.
Sunset if its the 31st and Sunrise if the 1st.
Sunset if its the 31st and Sunrise if the 1st.
New  Years Resolutions as Prescriptions
New Years Resolutions as Prescriptions
More Horatio Alger as a developed marketing sensibility.
More Horatio Alger as a developed marketing sensibility.
So true and so hard!
So true and so hard!
Flowers this First Morning
Flowers this First Morning



Must we always be productive?
Must we always be productive?
May you treat these four cards as parts of an incomplete narrative - and finish it?
An Unfinished Churchyard Story.  May you treat these four cards as parts of an incomplete story – finish it and share it as a “comment.”
We wave again from the garden gate.  Happy 89th Rich.  Happy New Years Everyone.
We wave again from the garden gate. Happy 89th Rich. Happy New Years Everyone.

Dear Ameer – Our 1902 Advance on Afghanistan

Here’s a double rarity for this media.  The attached is not from Ron Edge’s “clipping service” but from a microfilm reader at the U.W. Library.  The reason for sharing this page from the Jan 10, 1902 Daily Bulletin (a Seattle tabloid “devoted to Courts, Finance, Real Estate, Building and All Industrial Improvements”) is its clue to contemporary politics, which can be read directly below the part marked with a translucent red marker.  It expresses a sentiment that comes out of the joy of war got for Hearst and Roosevelt (representative citizens – pars pro toto – then for the nation) by beating up on Spain and the Philippines and so exhilarated the nation and brought such confidence that it was ready and eager for more broad-shouldered foreign jarring – or “big stick” jousting – in the name of “20th century progress.”  This was the first bloom and blush in the courtship of government and industry that soon gave birth to what we now call the “military industrial complex.”  Those that recall their world history will remember that 1902 was in the thick of the Age of Imperialism.  We never left it.

(Double click to Enlarge)