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: Yesterday I wired up the grapevine and cleaned out the fishpond. "Cleaned out" is not an accurate word for what I did. I grasped great handfuls of slimy angel hair and pulled some of them out, stirred muck, and hosed out the main filter. I didn't clean the filter on the pump that runs the turtle spitter; I was too scared of what I would find. Also, I didn't find Quasi, no matter how many bushes I beat. Quasi is the Runaway Bunny. I WILL find him.

There are many water snails living in my pond now. I don't know where they came from. There were none a year ago when I filled it. I've been meaning to go over to Jill Langley's and get some parent stock of water snails, but so far have not. Now I have my own snails. Spontaneous generation! Aristotle, eat your heart out! (But don't eat escargot d'eau).

Floating the surface was a discarded dragonfly skin. It was perfectly formed and complete-- and completely hollow. Even the little segmented legs were intact, as well as the transparent wing membranes. It had blind skin eyes, and was perfectly slit up the underneath center of the abdomen and thorax, as though it had been precisely snipped with scheerenschnitte scissors. I carred it over to where Susie was pruning the Rosa banksiae 'lutea' and she screamed and said it was disgusting.

My E Drive (the Zip drive) is misbehaving. I suppose that shouldn't come as much of a shock, since the whole computer is misbehaving.

: Mothers' Day. Susie brought me See's Candy in bed, which I consumed, and then felt vaguely sugarfull the rest of the morning. Six teens spoke in church, and it was a refreshing change from the usual momday drivel. Then, for a gift, Brad Davis and some kids brought--- See's Candy!!!!-- into Relief Society for a treat. What a change from a wilted flower. He remarked that it takes some of them a while to catch on to what's important in life. Yeah, chocolate, that's it.

The lesson, given by Cheryl Settlemeyer, was punctuated by happy wrapper-rustling and crunching. I didn't eat my "San Francisco Brickle Bar" yet, having earlier suffered a surfeit of See's.

: More wisdom from Ferguson:

Nothing can detract from the central fact that the Central Powers were significantly more successful at killing, wounding, and capturing the enemy than the Entente Powers_~ But what is even more astonishing is that they did so at much lower cost. One (admittedly rather callous) way of expressing the difference between the two sides in a way which takes not only military effectiveness but also economic resources into account - in other words, a way which measures integrated war efficiency - is to say that Germany succeeded far better than the Entente at inflicting ‘ maximum slaughter at minimum expense'. As we have seen, the Allies spent approximately $140 billion between 1914 and 1918, the Central Powers around 80 billion. Yet the Central Powers killed many more members of the Allies' armed forces than were killed of their own men. On this basis, a simple calculation can be made: whereas it cost the Entente powers $36,485.48 to kill a serviceman fighting for the Central Powers, it cost the Central Powers just $11,344-77 to kill a serviceman fighting for the Entente. To complete the macabre balance sheet, these figures could, of course, be related to Bogart's estimates of the notional economic value of each individual soldier killed to his country of origin. According to Bogart, an American or British soldier was worth 20 per cent more than a German ($1,414 compared with $1,354)1 but nearly double the cash value of a Russian or a Turk ($700). But no soldier was worth as much as it cost to kill him. Ultimately, the financial historian can therefore do no more than pose a question to military historians: why on earth did Germany and her allies-who were more than three times more efficient at killing the enemy--than Britain, and her allies–end up losing the war?

As I am wading through Ferguson I keep reminding myself that I'm not "wasting time wading through Ferguson; I'm "doing research for the novel I'll write about Grandpa."


© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.