Category Archives: Prosaic

From Bowies to Quercus

I am informed that my first word was “Bowies” which meant flowers. That should give some indication of how I got where I am today, which is to say botanically oriented. Actually there was a long lag period between bowies and the point where I used Latin names for plants.

The first Latin name I knew for a plant was Quercus, the oak. Quercus came into my head during a round trip across the country from Baltimore to the west coast and back, just in time to start graduate school. Edith rode with me on that trip in a Chevy Camper Special. On the way back we traveled through Canada. Read on

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Around and around


Alpine buckwheat

Ancient and furrowed, sturdy and strong, navels set fast, deep in the ground

High in the mountains,
Close to the sky,
Are clearings on ledges,
With whispery traces …

The Wee folk were merry.
Singing and dancing,
Traced on the ground,
‘Round a post set with flowers … Read on

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Nigh on fifty year’n

Cabin on the lake

A lakeside idyll

When I was just a tadpole I was giv’ to understand,
That in order for a gentleman to give a girl his hand,
He’d have to be up on his books, his rhymin’ and his diction,
As it’s well known, what lacks in fact, is made up best in fiction.

So in order to insure that I would not in marriage err,
My Daddy early on explained in what I must take care:
Not muscles, clothes or riches, son, will get you off the hook,
If you ever dare imply that your wife’s not the world’s best cook.

And furthermore your life will be a damned sight better off,
If you compliment her choice of clothes, and drapes and tablecloth.
In short, your neck will go a long way towards avoiding getting wrung,
If you polish up your verbitage and exercise your tongue.

Well, I gussied up my speech and got a special kind of twang,
So that upon my words the gals would liter-ally hang,
And I seriously began to charm the lady I liked best,
And got her all in awe and let the preacher do the rest..

And when I got her home I sat her down inside the kitchen,
Just to let her know that I was boss and she must listen.
She smiled and started talkin’ ’bout her life ‘n’ this ‘n’ that,
And she whiled away the afternoon with pleasantries and chat.

And then she launched into a rather lengthy diatribe,
On relatives and friends whose private lives she must describe,
And this went on about a week or two I guess,
And the subject changed to mothers and to premenstrual stress.

“But…,” was all that I could manage in the middle of her ode,
And that reminded her of all the lovers she had knowed.
And on she went undaunted, while I poured myself a dose,
And that’s the way it’s been for nigh on fifty year’n I ‘spose.

I resolved that I’d get even ere my final days had passed,
And when I upon my deathbed lay, I saw my chance at last,
She asked me, what about the will, and I finally replied,
“I left it to the deaf school”. And then I up and died.

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Pesticide Flavoring Ingredients

Spice up bland organic foods with savory pesticides. Get these six great recipes and your family will be begging you.

Are you a chemophobe with an irrational fear of chemicals? Or are you a chemophile who craves the flavor of pesticides and preservatives in food?

Despite misinformation campaigns waged by chemophobic do-goody-goods, chemophiles know that pesticides have yummy smells and flavors that can enhance your dining experience. So why not embrace them instead of shunning them?

“Oh, No!” you say?  You may not know it, but many of our prized groceries owe their subtle tastes to the food scientist who skillfully blends the pesticide ingredients to create a balanced flavor in your food supply.

In order to maintain a wholesome diet, you may need to amend an all-organic foods diet with additional nutrients that can only be provided by pesticides. Luckily, the ready availability of pesticides in food makes them the ideal dinner combination to spice up organic food diets. Check your food labels. If the label says 100% organic, you may not be getting all the pesticide vitamins you need for a healthy, happy lifestyle.

We all become accustomed to certain flavors and aromas over time. Food tastes and smells lie at the core of our personalities because they are remembered in the hypothalamus, which regulates emotions and behaviors such as hunger and thirst.

Common table salt is probably the best example of a preservative that contributes to the taste and smell of foods. But salt doesn’t just taste good; it is essential for survival. We should dispel the notion that all chemicals are bad. Take the taste of corned beef hash – it would be bland indeed if it weren’t made with saltpeter, a chemical.

Think about it. Everything on earth is made of chemicals. Our future depends on having an abundant supply of safe chemicals in our food supply.

So next time you hear some flabby environmentalist poo-pooing the chemicals in our food supply, tell them that they should get a life and learn to appreciate salt and learn the value of chemicals and pesticides for enhancing food flavors.

You may not realize that moms prefer chemical additives in their orange juice. During processing, chemical flavor packets are added to the orange juice. Scientific studies confirm that this juice is preferred by moms over untreated OJ.

To understand the inherent preference for certain smells, we have only to look at look at children. Kids don’t have the hatred of chemicals that their parents hammered into them.

I can well remember standing behind our old jalopy, telling my mom that I thought the exhaust smelled good as she yanked me away by the collar. In those days, the only gasoline additive was tasteless, odorless lead, and this allowed the aromatic hydrocarbons to fully express their rich aroma. Also in those days, we hadn’t yet hit the bottom of the oil barrel where all the high-sulfur oil now comes from. Have you noticed that cars today smell like rotten eggs? Yes, those were truly the good old days.

When I lived on Okinawa we could also go to the PX and buy tall green cans of DDT made for the army. To us kids, these cans were fun toys to spray around the house, until my mom took them away from us. The ingredients were basically just raw DDT with a little freon propellant. Now I wouldn’t recommend DDT as a food but it just shows that our smell preferences are hammered into us by our moms – we are not born with this unnatural hatred of pesticides, that is the cause of so much misunderstanding in our world today.

And I fondly remember the fun of running through the piquant fog as the DDT trucks went by twice a day at Ishikawa Beach in Okinawa. The aroma was complex and it was probably enhanced by the mild stimulant effect of all the volatile petrochemicals used to make up the carriers and surfactants. And even though DDT has been banned, the fond memories still come rushing back every time the county spray trucks drive by.

Nowadays I get my kicks from those little flavor packets they put into meats. You know, the antioxidants BHA and BHT. They lend a musky flavor to fish and meats that is quite distinctive. After using them for a while, meat just isn’t as good without them.

In addition, the beauty of using pesticides as flavoring ingredients is that they are already in your food, and for this we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to genetic engineering.

If you care about the flavor of your food, then maybe you should think more about how pesticides and preservatives contribute to the flavor and aroma of foods.

So don’t say “Oh, No!” to pesticides any more. Say “Oh, Boy!” to the taste of pesticide. Just imagine a future where pesticides are no longer restricted by our oversized bureaucracy of government regulators.

Try these great new pesticide food combos

  • Tomatoes Tordon! – Tomato dishes from Italian pasta to Mexican salsa can benefit from this herbicidal condiment. You’ll be crying “More! More!”
  • Phenoxylate Fudge – A new crop of phenoxylate herbicides has being genetically engineered into chocolate with an incredible taste sensation based on scientific flavor principles. And phenoxylates can also help prevent diarrhea.
  • Chicken tamales smothered in Atrazine sauce – Atrazine, the wonder pesticide, is now available in rainbow colors. Your guests will be wondering, was it the sauce or was it the chicken?
  • Woundup Nutmeg Nougats – These chewy morsels contain the sweetener ambidextrose that was sought after by the ancient Mayas. In addition to being a mild stimulant, ambidextrose is genetically engineered into the flour molecules so that they taste 10,000 times better than natural sugar, and in addition ambidextrose contains important cleansing ingredients that brighten and whiten your teeth!
  • Rolled Latex Dormant Spray Meat Rub – Liven up food textures. Learn how the right bad things can help perk up your dinners.
  • Death Burgers – one taste could be your last!  These make great dinners and lunches for the terminally ill, since they contain pure 2,4 -D in every bite!!!

These and other great pesticide recipes can be yours when you subscribe to Xenophile, the organization of the Pesticide Flavoring Industry.

You’d better hurry, too. Soon it will be too late.  Time is running out for those in the industry and these chemicals may not be around for future generations to savor.

– This article was written by a chemist. We want to help you control your food supply.

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Long ride on a big yellow bus

Some come slowly to the realization of where they are in their time. By that I am referring to having a sense of who you are and what you stand for, a sense people tend to have for others but not for themselves. This sense develops over a lifetime with age and experience.

The year was 1969 and I was sixteen. Outside of a prosaic life of school and idle summers at the lake, the world was experiencing Woodstock, love-ins, peace marches, and music the likes of which had never been heard before. But I watched 1969 go sailing by without me on the boat. And I cursed my time for being born too late.

school bus

For me, you are either on the bus or under the bus.

Read on

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Over Silver Glance and the Long Sky Cold

by Tony Smith

snowy view of sun on the mountains

Tony's snowy view of winter sun on the distant mountains.

This was written by Tony Smith while he was living next door to me in a one-room picker’s cabin in the Eastern Washington Cascades near Winthrop. It describes how 5-year old Tony first came to realize that winter can be long and hard. Yacolt is in SE Washington, and Bonneville is southeast of there. Silver Glance is a remote wilderness area a long way further east and south, in Utah. Tony passed away in about 2010. He was a fire lookout and philosopher. Perhaps reminding him of the Long Sky Cold, here is a picture of the view outside Tony’s window.

Over Silver Glance and the Long Sky Cold

by Tony Smith

Grampa said they’d better kill that hog
And take the heifer to Yacolt.
My grandmother said, “hum”, but she was looking south –
waiting for the light from Bonneville.

Read on

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Swift, Quiet

Swift as a raindrop darkness fell,
Cold as a frog’s tongue the stream slid ‘round a stone.
The northern lights were excited.
Two deer quietly kissed the water.

Cooney headwaters

Cooney headwaters

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On the edge

Along the rim rock,
The crickets,
Sing from the mud cracks.

Wandering footsteps,
At night,
Follow the music.

Close by,
At night,
The edge lies silent.


On the edge.

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To impress the sky

I have breathed the clear air of the mountains.
Where mosses creep among the roots,
Where willows guard the pebbly rivulets,
Where each tiny grain is set with care.
Glistening tiaras to impress the sky.

I went on past many cirques,
Their walls of snow and spacious murals,
Shining down on azure lakes.
Sparkles dancing off their sides.
The blue sky amused with clouds of cotton.

I went on past jutting spires and melting tongues of ice.
Where the world lay below me distant and weary.
I sat by the shore of a tiny lake and dropped in a hook,
And pulled out one funny fish from the bottomless deep,
Would you believe – its flesh was the color of blood.

bottomless lake


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Tristan and Isolde

Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland

Song Of Isolde – Lyrics by Eliza Gilkyson

Wake up, wake up Tristan,
Our bed of leaves and sand is cold,
I fell asleep here in your arms,
More than a thousand years ago.

The tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde has been told and retold many different ways. In my version of the story, the love potion and the poisoned wine remind us that love and fate are two faces of the same universal force.

This story began in England during the reign of King Arthur, when a prince by the name of Drust was born in Ireland. During his birth, his mother died, and so Drust became known as Tristan, from the word tristesse, meaning sorrow.

Read on

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If hurricanes were fun

If hurricanes were lots of fun,
And snow was dew and moon was sun,
I’d wish you happy gales today,
We’d shovel mist then sleep away.

If sun was moon and dew was snow,
We’d wake to find the world we know,
Where winter lingers for a while,
And you can thrill me with your smile.

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The Fuzzy Muse

Of all the ways to show sincere
Lending of an open ear,
None compare with quiet noises,
Shared with spirits of the toyses. Read on

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