Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What is the plural of 'non sequitur?'

While we are on the subject of haiku, here is one from Richard Brautigan's collection of poems "June 30th, June 30th."

Strawberry Haiku

• • • • •
• • • • • • •
The twelve red berries


Other random stuff:

Are trees musical, or is that just some silly notion made up by effete sensitive artistic dreamy people?

The idea is that trees make a pleasing noise when the wind blows through the limbs and leaves. They creak. They rustle. And when trees or branches bend in the wind, they bend with a certain rhythm or cadence. Aspen leaves wiggle invitingly.

But rabbits wiggle and make noise, too. And mice. Does anybody wax poetic about the music of rabbits or mice? Trees have been so romanticized it’s almost not fair to other plants. Yes, sonnets and songs have been written about roses, but that’s because of their smell or their color or texture, not their sounds.

Oak = Sousa march
Aspen = polka (or American folk music)
Redwood = acid rock
Jackpine = country swing
Linden = lullabye
Locust = Bach fugue
Magnolia = New Orleans jazz
Live oak = delta blues

Listening to the black walnut trees out my back window, I hear Shostakovich. Or maybe that’s my neighbor’s 13-year-old daughter practicing, I don’t know. I’m just killing time tossing this metaphor into the breeze to see where it lands, how high it bounces, what pleasing noises it might make.

Two blocks from my office is a state highway, a major east-west route across the bottom third of the state. This week, there’s some work being done on that highway, and the detour takes traffic right past my window. There sure are lots of big trucks rumbling by. Some of them are kind of smelly, too. One especially noisy and pungent truck had these words stenciled on the door: “Midwest Byproducts.” This little town has more than its share of meat processing plants, so it’s not hard to imagine what might have been in that truck.

Pool cue handles are often made of exotic woods, as much for appearance as performance. But the shafts should be made of a simple straight-grained light wood (maple, usually) for better control and feel. Shaft and handle are the perfect marriage of function and decoration. The joint should allow a wood-on-wood connection even where the joint is some fancy brass fitting with cloisonné decoration. Ivory-butted handles are pretty, but the shaft and tip are what make a cue work. Likewise, a stock made of African rosewood doesn’t make the rifle shoot any better.

Someday, I would like to drive a pickup truck with flames painted on the side.


Rob Hardy said...

The plural, technically, would have to be "non sequuntur," since "sequitur" is a third person singular deponent verb. The third person plural of the verb is "sequuntur."

Did you read about St. Olaf making fine furniture out of the trees they cut down to build their new science center?

Was Alexi Casilla's 10th inning hit the most exciting thing you've experienced in a long time?

Jim H. said...


I was hoping you'd weigh in on the grammar question. Thanks!

Yes, I read about the re-used trees at St. Olaf. Neat idea. I once helped a guy make a dashboard for an old MG out of a hunk of walnut he'd cut from a tree on his little farm.

I especially liked the way Punto got to third to enable Casilla's game-winning RBI: walk, steal, wild pitch. That's station-to-station baseball!

Jim H. said...

Correction: walk, fielder's choice, wild pitch.