one day at a time…
Tuesday 29 July 2003

Pix of the Day: More Perceived Potential Threats
Black Widow Spider © Ian Scott-Parker
As recently as Saturday our Feature Writer said in the 'On This Day in 2002' section, "We have Wolf Spiders here, which fortunately are harmless because occasionally one will crawl across my feet as I sit at the computer, and Black Widow Spiders, which I have yet to see." On Monday we were invaded by wasps. Today a Black Widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus) put in an appearance. By the time you read this we expect to have discovered a nest of rattlesnakes in the timber pile by the door, and to have been overwhelmed by scorpions. A number of people wrote to suggest leaving the wasps alone: we were gratified that so many are prepared to live and let live.

As we write the spider has removed from clear view in the center of the web, and we think this may be a different perceived order of threat magnitude. Already we are experiencing imagined pricking sensations on our skins. Can we overcome our hostility through chanting "Serenity now!", and making like we didn't know this terror was lurking in wait for a moment of inattention on our part?

The LDS (Mormon) Pioneers who settled this area saw all challenges as a test of their fortitude before the Lord. We acknowledge that we are bereft of fortitude, so this may be a way for the Universe to measure just how craven we are capable of being. Sensibly it might be a good plan to become informed about the issues here.

We have already learned that the Black Widow female spider (the dangerous gender) 'rarely leave their webs' - but 'rarely' is not up to snuff, because we need to be reassured that they NEVER leave their webs. Serenity now! Thankfully we have an appointment that will take us out of the house for the remainder of the day. If they do leave the web, is it at night? How far do they range after they have left the web? Serenity now! Do they bite or sting? Serenity now! We are trying to overcome hyperventilation by breathing slowly in and out of a paper bag.

If our research is prematurely ended by a violent confrontation, and this is to be the last update to this weblog, you will at least be able to guess the most probable reason why! We never thought it would all end so ignominiously in this way.

Caricature of the Day courtesy of Caricature Zone
IDENTITY LINK: click the image below. Click this text for a BIO-FINDER LINK.
Caricature Zone
American wife (1929-1994). Much to our embarrassment our guess for today's subject was completely wrong - our bizarre answer is classified information, so do not even ask. We still think there is a resemblance.

This lady was both revered and ridiculed in her time. We thought the widely repeated comment that she was responsible for her first husband becoming a millionaire was an unduly hostile criticism: it was said that before they married he had been a multi millionaire. Both her own family, and her husband's extended family, were beset by tragedy, though she went on to remarry after the death of her first husband, once again to yet another fabulously rich partner, earning a famous appellation from the tabloid press. A TV profile of her mother and sister put everything into perspective for us. She shares her maiden name with Marge Simpson from 'The Simpsons', and her first husband's niece is married to movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Did she really say, "There are two kind of women, those who want power in the world and those who want power in bed."? She tried to be less elitist and more populist than many earlier incumbents to her role, and you may even enjoy a recreated tour of her famous house, which was seen by 80 million Americans when first broadcast. In the last seventeen years of her life she found contentment, mostly outside of public view, with Maurice Tempelsman, a diamond merchant. They lived together overlooking Central Park in New York, presumably in comfortable circumstances.

On This day in 2002: Autumnal Preview Monday 29 July 2002
Lakeland Autumn © www.mikes-eye.com
This picture of a glorious autumn day in the English Lake District comes from the Mikes-Eye website, where they offer prints, calendars, jigsaws, and cards featuring original Lakeland pictures. The featured picture is the foot of Derwentwater lake and the North Western Fells. The Mikes-Eye flagship products are the videos, which team much loved classical orchestral music with stunning footage of Lakeland scenes. Music lovers will enjoy the visual enhancement of the music, and hill lovers will enjoy identifying the Lakeland scenes, all of which as listed, and many of which are fresh looks at familiar subjects. There are six titles featuring the works of Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Rachmaninov (my own favourite), Sibelius, and J.S. Bach. Videos are reasonably priced, with a special offer if all six are purchased.

[UPDATE: since last we visited Mikes-Eye have added a visitors' gallery alongside Jenny Wren's Tearoom in the village of Uldale in John Peel country. The tearoom web page shows the view across to a neat gap in the hills, lying between Meal Fell on the left and Great Cockup on the right: named Trusmadoor (locally pronounced 'THRESH-ma-deer') it is one of the most delightful passages between hills we know. The source of the River Ellen [thanks to Stuart Rae's glossary of Lakeland place names], which runs to join the sea at Maryport, gave its name to the containing administrative district of Allerdale. Local guide book artist AW Wainwright was a person with both feet firmly on the ground, but in several descriptions he is clearly drawn to Trusmadoor's woowoo ambience. In Book Five, 'The Northern Fells' in the 'Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells' series, on page six of the chapter about a fell named Knott he says,
'Nobody ever sung the praises of Trusmadoor, and it's time someone did. This lonely passage between the hills, an obvious and easy way for man and beast and beloved by wheeling buzzards and hawks, has a strange nostalgic charm. Its neat and regular proportions are remarkable - a natural 'railway cutting'! What a place for an ambush and massacre.'
It seems that even an old curmudgeonly Parent Type like Wainwright was unable to suppress his Child Type in such a place of delight and mysterious energy.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)