The festival of St David, patron saint of Wales, known as "the waterman" for his asceticism.

"St David who was of royal extraction, and uncle to King Arthur, died, aged a hundred and forty-six years, on the first of March, still celebrated by the Welsh, perchance to perpetuate the memory of his abstinence, whose contented mind made many a favourite meal on such roots of the earth."

-- The Episcopal Almanack for 1677

"I like the leeke above all herbes and flowers.
When first we wore the same the field was ours.
The Leeke is whte and greene, whereby is ment
That Britaines are both stout and eminent;
Next to the Lion and the Unicorn,
The Leeke the fairest emblyn that is worne."

-- A Collection of Pedigrees, B.L. Harleian MS

--Both selections from A Celtic Books of Days

THURSDAY, FEB 26, 2004

The speed at which sound travels. The change in pressure as the rocketship outruns all of the pressure and sound waves in front of it is heard on the ground as an explosion or sonic boom. The pressure change condenses the water in the air as the ship passes these waves. Altitude, wind speed, humidity, the shape and trajectory of the ship -- all of these affect the breaking of this barrier. The slightest drag or atmospheric pull on the ship shatters the vapor oval like fireworks as the rocketship passes through, "You see this vapor flicker around the rocketship that gets bigger and bigger. You get this loud boom, and it's instantaneous."

-- submitted by sublieutenant O'Green

What is this foolishness
we call fooling around
instead of god-fearing
legitimate money-making
moral-lifting endeavors
of a productive kind?

Tales from the Bunkhouse.
Dedicated to the elusive Nutria.

by Counselor Groble (with help from advisor Skyp)

You have no idea of the fear that gripped our souls as the Nutria stalked us by night, clawing at the doors, gnawing through the walls, making prank phone calls, then hanging up. We gave up on sleep. Waited for the next ring, then grabbed the phone and yelled, "Don't hang up," but too late. We had to come up with a plan.

And, so we did. "The Plan," as it came to be called, involved pointy sticks, carved from the low lying boughs of a nearby silver maple, the business end of said pointy sticks to be thrust at the wily critter before he could take a second helping of Chas' ankle. Chas thought he had the bed in the bunkhouse to himself.

"The Problem", as it came to be called, with "The Plan" was this-- just how were we to cross terra firma to obtain the aforementioned low lying boughs of the stately silver maple without incurring the wrath of the Nutria?

Chas came up with the idea of the flat bottomed boat.

"Would our host mind if we took apart the bunkhouse for building material?," I queried. I am the not beforementioned Groble. "Shirley, he's had more than his share of scrapes with these south american expatriates." After all, some parts of the bunkhouse were flat, not the floor necessarily, but other parts, and this would be a "flat bottom" boat in the strictest sense of the term. Chas nodded his assent, at least I interpreted it as assent, and proceeded to de-bunk the bunkhouse with a single blade axe that I had "borrowed" from the wood shed earlier that day.

Don't call me Shirley, Chas said to himself. Don't call me late for lunch,, either. But he was willing to build and build he did until the boat stood on its own two moorings ready for launch and the boys were ready for lunch.

Roasted nutria was on the chalkboard down at the Dexter Lake Club, with a side of mashed potatos and gravy. Funny how these things have a way of working themselves out.

Funnier still was the look on our host's face when he came home and found the floor of the bunkhouse sunk in the bottom of the slough. Drew out a slew of curses from the lad. The king nutria peeped amused at the feeble attempts of these earthlings to stick poiny sticks in him. He composed a poem on the spot.

  Betting on the forsythia
he dropped a ten spot
at the bookie's and
went home sniffling
with a carrot up his nose
he wrestled out of the
pot roast when he found
out the roast was free of pot.

It is good to be king.
To have the underling
who is eaten by the mob
leaving the boss to finish the job
of lurking in the slough
emerging from the goo

 to sneak in the bunkhouse
pretending to be a big mouse
talking on the telephone
arranging for a house loan

well hell you always ask
for a lot and end up with
a patch of ground in the
desert somewhere.
how much can you afford?
the sky's the limit here.
everyone is forgiven,
fruitcakes, nutcakes, idjits
and gone fishin is the way to go.

Chas and I gave up and went home ourselves and the nutria swam in circles, unwinding.


It's obvious to me, Groble was sampling the sap, leaf and root of too many of the plants lurking between us and the slough. I came out of my covers one night topped by a watch cap and he almost beheaded me, mistaking me for a giant, foul rodent!

I tried to talk him down, but he's big and his sense far, far gone. The silver maple spears were a good idea, however. Nothing like hanging it all out there in the wee hours, peeing, to the snarling, snapping frantic muderous romp of King Nutria and his lessers. Perhaps, if the fur trade goes south, they can by rented out as mohels.

TUESDAY, FEB 24, 2004


Everyone's familiar with Julis Caesar's question to Brutus but until a recent discovery no one has known the answer. Noted archaeologist and anthropologist and bon vivant, Enrico Penzance (pictured above celebrating his discovery), while working as a temp ditch digger for the Rome Sanitation Department, dug up a paper containing the minutes from the Forum on that fateful day when Julius, spouting blood, asked, "Et tu, Brute?"The answer, as it turned out, once the paper was cleaned of the accumulated centuries of dung, was, simply, "Te audire no possum: Musa sapientum fixa est in aure." Which, when translated, means, "I can't hear you: I have a banana in my ear."

Take that, Julius.

MONDAY, FEB 23, 2004

Humphry F. Osmond, 86, the British-born psychiatrist who introduced the word "psychedelic" to describe the effects of hallucinatory drugs, died of cardiac arrhythmia Feb. 6 at his daughter's home in Appleton, Wis

By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Dr. Osmond coined "psychedelic" while conducting controversial studies on schizophrenia, a mental disorder, and alcoholism.

Starting in the late 1940s, he worked on the theory that mind-altering substances mirror the perceptions of a schizophrenic. He administered mescaline and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to normal volunteers, including doctors, so they could describe their experiences while drugged.

With that information, he said he felt doctors could better understand and care for their schizophrenic patients. He saw this as a vital approach in an era when comparably less was known about the disorder.

Sensing little support for his work in England, Dr. Osmond left in 1951 to accept an appointment at a psychiatric hospital in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. It was a desolate place, but he found ample research funds from the Canadian government and the Rockefeller Foundation. There also was a desperate need for experts to treat the mounting cases of schizophrenia and alcoholism.

He and a few Canadian colleagues, notably Abraham Hoffer, had hypothesized that schizophrenia was the result of a body producing its own toxic compound similar to mescaline; that, they said, caused
hallucinations. They focused on dietary-based treatments, such as adding niacin to their patients' diets.

They extended their LSD research to alcoholics on the theory that chronic drinkers quit only after experiencing the hallucinations of
delirium tremens. The doctors decided to use LSD to induce similar visions, and they claimed promising results.

Among the followers of this work was Aldous Huxley, author of "Brave New World." Huxley asked if he could be a test subject. Dr. Osmond agreed but later said he did not "relish the possibility, however remote, of finding a small but discreditable niche in literary history as the man who drove Aldous Huxley mad."

Huxley, who found the experience mystical and revelatory, wrote about his mescaline use in the book "The Doors of Perception" (1954). He and Dr. Osmond maintained a correspondence, the result of which was the scientist's coining the word "psychedelic" in 1956.

Preparing for a conference, Dr. O smond asked Huxley's advice about describing the effects of mescaline. Huxley replied with "phanerothyme," from Greek words meaning "to show" and "the spirit." He also contributed a rhyme: "To make this mundane world sublime / Take half a gram ofphanerothyme.''

Dr. Osmond instead chose "psychedelic," from the Greek for mind or soul and a form of the verb "to show," deloun. He added in a note back to Huxley: "To fathom Hell or soar angelic / Just take a pinch of psychedelic.''

He told the New York Academy of Sciences in 1957: "I have tried to find an appropriate name for the agents under discussion: a name that will include the concepts of enriching the mind and enlarging the vision. . .
My choice, because it is clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations, is psychedelic, mind-manifesting."

Years later, he said he disapproved of Timothy Leary, the counterculture icon who encouraged people to "turn on, tune in, drop out." To Dr. Osmond, drugs were "mysterious, dangerous substances and must be treated respectfully."

Humphry Fortescue Osmond was a native of Surrey, England. He was doing his residency in psychiatry at St. George's Hospital in London when he read about Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann's pioneering work on the effects of LSD. That inspired Dr. Osmond's early work with schizophrenia.

He later worked for institutes and hospitals in New Jersey and Alabama and retired in the early 1990s.

Survivors include his wife, Amy Roffey "Jane" Osmond, whom he married in 1947, of Appleton; three children; a sister; and five grandchildren.

FRIDAY, FEB 20, 2004

Remember the domino theory? If Korea falls, Japan is next. Vietnam, the Phillipines. Then the red tide hits home and next thing you know the Hordes are knocking up our daughters in the streets of Paducah, giving birth to vodka addicted socialists. So we stop them at the DMZ, right? Right. Hey, got to be more to it than that. Hiltons on the beachfront. Off shore oil wells. Opium poppy farms. A big buck ball game and mortal flesh the expendable commodity.

Whatever Uncle Sam backs Uncle Sam wins elset what's a numero uno appellation for, lessen you is fighting in the Applachians, then it doesn't matter; jes bow yer head in thanks the Creator's on our side and whatever it is we're doing is right, right?

Running at the max. High speeds, heavy loads. A poor war, admittedly, but the only war we've got. Huge accumulation of American money and gear. And out there, at lonely outposts, plenty of beer and ammunition, supplied by Whirleybird Air. A shitty job but somebody's got to do it.

Sound familiar? 1962 or 2004, same-oh same-oh, different places different faces.

-- Capn Skyp