Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   Chanterelle Valley
Sunday, August 23 2009
For some reason I took a backpack with me when I went into the woods this morning with the dogs, and this turned out to be a great idea. I was walking on one of my favorite off-trail trajectories, downstream along a little seasonal brook that runs at the bottom of a valley from one leg of my stick trail system to the south end of "the Mountain Goat Trail" (near 41.923323 N, 74.102397 W). It's a beautiful steep-sided forested valley full of big oak trees and it's the only place I've ever seen a mother bear with cubs. Today, though, I found something else: chanterelle mushrooms in two separate places in the center line of the valley. I gathered well over a pound of them. I should mention that, though my father used to occasionally harvest them in Virginia, chanterelles are relatively unfamiliar to me and lie outside the "known universe" of what I'd normally feel safe to eat. But that all changed a few weeks ago when Penny and David gave me a bag of chanterelles and I did the research necessary to distinguish them from Jack-O-Lantern Mushrooms (the most similar poisonous species).
Gretchen and I have a very real need for the names of nearby topographic features (all of which are too small-scale to have any official names). But it's been hard to agree upon names or even know what things we're talking about when we do use names. The Mountain Goat Trail and the Chamomile River (pronounced "Tcha-moah-muh-lay") are two features that are so unique that names have managed to stick. Now, finally, I have the perfect name for this valley running through the lowest part of the Mountain Goat Trail: the Chanterelle Valley. I can even mispronounce it like the Chamomile, referring to it as "the Tchan-Ter-El-Aye Valley." This name can also be applied to the seasonal brook, which is actually stronger than the Chamomile and can likewise be fancifully categorized as a "river."

Even from a basic understanding of Engish and Spanish, one can come upon the roots of the Indo-European language. In English we call a piece of tough material covering the foot a "shoe." But somehow we also have the word "sabot" meaning "wooden shoe," though we mostly know it through the term "sabotage," meaning to throw a wooden shoe into a mechanism so as to destroy it. And "sabot" sounds a lot like "zapato," the Spanish word for shoe. The stretching, distorting, merging, and displacements of words in language as they evolve from one into the next and then cross-pollinate with others has something in common with biological memetics (though there would seem to be little at stake with the survival of words, genders, conjugations, and declensions). But it also resembles the slow-motion bumper-car pandemonium of plate tectonics and the unpredictable swirling of weather systems. Thus it lies in the place where information theory overlaps chaos theory.
These were the sorts of things I found myself thinking to myself when I finally got around to smoking some of the pot I'd had in my possession for over a year.

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