Friday, July 06, 2012

Roadside bouquets

Mornings have been pleasant here despite excessive heat that settles in later (today's predicted high is 100 again) and I've been trying to walk in the cemetery early, a pleasant way to start the day. Dedcated walkers hoof it to the cemetery, then walk; I drive, thank you very much.

Anyhow, there are all sorts of things to see --- if you keep your eyes open --- including roadside bouquets of Queen Anne's lace and chicory. Neither is native to this continent and both can be pesky because of their hardiness --- but pretty.

Chicory has to be one of creation's hardier products and flourishes here in the hard-packed and gravely verges of country roads, turning some into blue-lined processional ways as summer advances. Farther south, chicory roots are dried, ground and mixed with coffee to add a regional flavor not generally appreciated here.

Queen Anne's lace (or wild carrot) is the bane of those attempting to re-establish prairie because of its invasive nature. Used to be, and perhaps still is, that corps of volunteers at the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City spent considerable time yanking it out of areas where prairie restoration was underway. I wonder how that project's going.

On a considerably grander scale than the Chariton Cemetery's ecosystem, physicists are claiming discovery of the "God particle," or Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that "helps explain what gives all matter in the universe size and shape."

This is not something I intend to think about. But you never know when you may want to pretend you know what you're talking about. If so, consider memorizing one or more of the shortcuts found here in The Guardian's "How to explain the Higgs boson discovery." Keep in mind that English English is not exactly the same as American English, so you'll have to substitute localisms in a few instances.

Or just make up your own explanation. Few are going to know what you're talking about and few are going to challenge you --- if you make it confusing enough.


A formal rite for blessing same-sex unions is likely to emerge July 5-12 during the 77th General Conference of The Episcopal Church, now under way in Indianapolis. If the liturgy is approved, we would become the largest denomination to officially endorse a specific liturgy for uniting same-sex couples.

This doesn't mean same-sex unions haven't been blessed for years in Episcopal churches or that same-sex marriages are not performed in Episcopal churches in states like Iowa where such unions are recognized. It's just that Episcopalians love their liturgy and feel more secure if something has been written down.

The team in charge of developing the rite collected blessings from parishes worldwide, including Iowa, I see. In order to be adopted, the liturgy will have to clear both the House of Bishops (300 bishops) and the House of Deputues (800 lay and clergy). This should not be a problem.


But the best news of the day is that I remembered to get the garbage bags out to the street early today, since our highly efficient friends at Darrah Garbage Disposal like to get an early start on hot days like this. I forgot that last week, and ended up with a bag that simmered all week in the outside container --- not a very attractive thing to happen.

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