A Musing

At first hearing the term “blog” feels slightly ingenious (web log – right, I get it). More than that the word falls heavily upon the ear, unsubtle, ugly and crude – the more so since in the vernacular of childhood the bog was the lavatory. When we visited the lavatory whatever solids we deposited there were collectively a ‘bog.’ The term remains current but not predominant.

Initially I disdained the term ‘blog’. I knew instinctively that a blogger must be vain and unselfconsciously vulgar. I knew I would never write one; I would never be one.

Yet here we are. Of course I am flattered that over  two hundred and fifty persons have managed to overcome these unpleasant redolences and ‘follow’ these postings. Yet, two or more years after embarking on the practice I remain unreconciled to blogs and blogging. The words suggest turds.

So what are we sharing? I think this is Howard Goldenberg’s column, too occasional to constitute a diary, yet intimate enough to be that. This is Howard thinking aloud, thinking personally. Self-absorbed in tone, vain in ambition, unexpectedly enriching to the writer in its fruitful exchanges.

Being now FED UP, I resolve that so long as I remain a bogger, I’ll no longer be a blogger. When King George V lay on his death bed a friend visited and remarked encouragingly, ‘You’ll soon be up and about and able to take your annual holiday at Bognor.’ To which the king replied: ‘Bugger Bognor!’ – and died.

As for me, Bugger Blogger! I am glad to announce this blogger has died, executed, the punishment for linguistic ugliness well overdue.

Good morning, welcome now and henceforth to the occasional musings of Howard Goldenberg.

Return of the Pantry Moth

They’d visit every year, in late spring as I recall. And they’d stay until the end of summer. The pantry moths were our uninvited guests. “House guests are like fish”, as my cousin in Des Moines remarks, “They’re fine at first but they start to go off after three days.”

When they first arrive the moths are inoffensive in their delicate off-white coats. Standing upright, which I’ve never seen them do, they’d be a fraction taller than a centimetre; in full and fluttery flight their wingspan is about two-and –a half cm. I don’t mind them at first. Their numbers are few and they shun attention, nestling discreetly in the groynes of the kitchen’s plaster ceiling. What they are doing, I discovered, is waiting, plotting, fantasising. What is it that the moth’s minute brain contemplates high in the groynes? Sex, of course. Sex in our kitchen. This, I believe, ranks as an offence against hospitality.

Now I’ve never actually caught the moths at it. Perhaps they are too quick. Discreet they certainly are, as I observed earlier. But I know they do it. In the lines my late and beloved Uncle Abe loved to recite:

I can tell there’s been some pushin’
By the marks upon the cushion
And the footprints on the ceiling
Upside down…

In the case of the moths it’s their offspring that offend. Somehow they are born lengthier than their parents, at 1.3 cm. These pale plump maggots (I know, I know, they are pupae or something), these maggots drop from the ceiling onto the kitchen benchtops and worm silently, slowly, heading for some unseen bourne.
A few weeks after the arrival of the first of these obese spermatozoa we come across them in the pantry, within sealed jars of farinaceous foods. Their brains might be small but these fellers are all Houdini.
I have written previously of the obscure pleasure of discovering that the curious black crescents in my breakfast cereal I have just consumed are actually mice poo. Less charming somehow is the discovery of pupae in your oatmeal. After the first few of these vernal experiences we examine every package, every plastic container, every jar in our pantry and empty those infested into the bin. Then we buy some more and wait for next spring.

While still invaded and under plunderous attack, we counter-attack. Our weapon is chemical, doubtless banned by the Geneva Diet of Worms: the weapon is a Hovex Pantry Moth Trap. This consists of a small square of pink rubber steeped in some chemical pheromone that seduces the randy moth, who flies towards it in a state of high tumescence and lands on old fashioned fly paper, where cruelly affixed as if crucified in glue, the moth expires.

That’s how it used to be. Come spring, when

The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

our fornicating moths would return.

But last September the moths failed. No flapping in the groynes, no wrigglers in the oatmeal. It felt lonely. It felt like environmental doom. I felt a shapeless guilt. Needing to apologise I wandered empty through my springtime kitchen looking for a maggot.
This environmental emptiness reminded me of the time on the dry land when the blowflies failed. On the lonely road to Bunninyong the words of the Preacher echoed obscurely:

Lest the evil days come
And the years draw nigh
When thou shalt say
“I have no pleasure in them.”

The world had changed ominously. Drought haunted the land.

But after a decade of drought the blowflies came back. And now, at the onset of winter, our pantry moths have returned. Unseasonal visitors, they are harbingers of environmental recovery.

Let all those souls who despair for perishing species visit our flapping, squirming kitchen. Or the blowfly haven of Bunninyong. Nature, it seems, loves the maggot.

A Message from the Moderator on Blog Policy

This is a belated message from the moderator of Howard Goldenberg’s blog.

 

As this is the first time that the moderator (not Howard) has posted on Howard’s blog, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you and thank you for your interest and comments.

 

Unfortunately the need has arisen for creation of a set of blog guidelines that perhaps should have been anticipated earlier.

 

Howard spends a significant amount of time and effort preparing content for his audience. He doesn’t get paid for this. He blogs because he likes writing and gets great enjoyment from receiving feedback as well as hearing differing views from his own.

 

Comments from followers with views that are differ from Howard’s or are critical of his opinions are both accepted and encouraged.

 

We support positive and productive discussions and we request that the tone and focus of comments are respectful.

 

Comments that are personally offensive, defamatory or may publicly humiliate the writer or others are unacceptable. Gratuitous personal attacks made under the guise of literary criticism will not be tolerated.

 

Future posts that are offensive, ad hominem or disrespectful will be removed. Repeat offenders will be denied access from posting future comments.

 

In the event that an objection arises to the moderator’s decision, the objection will be considered but ultimately the moderator’s decision is final.

 

I sincerely hope open discussion will continue for all followers of Howard’s writing and that free discourse is not impeded by negativity.

Thank you.