Sunday, July 3, 2022

Summer lawns


Though it is my first inclination, I don't have to say anything cruel about the great American lawn. I could. But I don't have to.

Out here in Saint Minneapolis, America's 19th largest city, the rain has been light, and the days warm. The lawns are burning out. To stop this, the well-heeled home owners, morning and night, water the sidewalks. My wonderful wife and I walk along many times each day, in the long holiday weekend and observe: What very wet sidewalks!

And then we are distracted by all the cute bunnies.

It is a great time of year for bunnies.

But anyway, as I look out on all the struggling lawns, turning to yellow, and sometimes straw, and even to deathly white, I think: Wow, I guess it is a far drier Summer than I thought.

But having spent a childhood in something that was technically a desert, it is hard to believe that "Gosh, it's been a few days since it rained!" is a proper drought.

I'm beginning to think that grass is unreasonable in its demands.

Go down by the creeks and woods, nay even walk along the city's abandoned alleyways and all is as lush and verdant as a rainforest!

And as to the sidewalks?

It is all death and ants.

Saturday, July 2, 2022


Sometimes leftovers are better than the original meal!

No, I can't think of a time in particular as an example of this. And today's collection of leftover pictures isn't it probably. So why I am I pointing this out before I show a grab bag of pictures that didn't fit in anywhere else?

I was hoping to put everyone in a good mood!

Oh, you're in a good mood?

Excellent. We can now proceed!

Elephant at the falls!


Fiddler in the DVD section!

Interactive toy in the kids' room! (I don't know why it's all exclamation points here).

Seuss figure in the stacks!

Snake on the shelves!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Cats on my walk


Despite my aching back I went for a morning walk in the warm woods by the river. I saw too many dogs, but no cats.

So I fixed the walk in post production.

Thursday, June 30, 2022



A mysterious reminder: for some reason you have to click "Play" twice.

This short, slightly hallucinogenic film is from not long before I slipped, fell, and almost died, but didn't, because I refuse to die for many, many decades, practically another century.

I did hurt my back though.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Pride goeth before the


So often when I injure my back or neck it seems to come from nearly infinitesimal actions. I turn on a water faucet, or tie my shoe, or look slightly to the left, and soon I am in anywhere from two to seven days of modest discomfort to deep pain.

So it was almost a relief today to be down at Shadow Falls, having taken many pictures of the falls, and now heading down a slight incline to the creek, only to have both of my feet cartoonishly slip out from under me. There I slammed with a kind of shocking violence, into the grass and hard mud, with the full force of my weight, onto my upper back and my head.

I lay there in shock. My landing was kind of perfect. But it hurt! 

My upper back is sort of killing me right now, although I suppose it could be worse. I am barely managing to work today. We'll see how it is tomorrow.

And the cherry on top?

I'm pretty sure I know what caused it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The three-letter code


This is the merest trifle from today's library work, but if I can't share the small things here then...

Hmm, nope, nothing occurs to me. 

So let's workshop it! 

If I can't share the small things here with you then...

1. ...we may end up clogging the Internet.

2. the reader may begin to fear reading clerkmanifesto because you can't take the intensity of having your mind blown EVERY SINGLE DAY!

3. ...they will probably end up all over the floor here and someone could slip on them.

Thank god we're done with the workshopping. You can choose any concluding phrase above, or, for fun, make up your own.

So here's what happened. We file requested books with a slip featuring a three-letter code made of the first two letters of a library patron's last name followed by the first letter of the person's first name; Feldenstein Calypso = CAF, cause I sure like my coffee! Sometimes these three-letter codes spell out something. This isn't enough to create anything amusing out of the situation (see "CAF" comment above). But sometimes, when the three-letter code is combined with the right requested book or movie that the slip is placed in, it creates a sudden frisson!

That's what happened today.

Someone requested a season of the TV show called "Mom".

The request slip read:


Maybe "frisson" was too strong a word?

Monday, June 27, 2022

Herbs, spices, and the perils of library work


I checked out a couple library books for a man at our front desk. He picked up one of our free bookmarks that I ordered before the pandemic and have only put out for the public now. It has a picture of an herb.

"What herb is this?" The man asked.

"Rosemary." I answered. "Scratch it and smell it."

He was confused as to where to scratch it. So I came around the desk, scratched its general scratch spot, and handed it to him. He smelled it. He was impressed.

"Scratch and sniff." He said.

"Scratch and sniff." I responded.

He asked "What is the difference between an herb and a spice?"

"An herb is the leafy part of the plant. Spices come from the roots and seeds and other stuff." I replied, winging it.

"Oh." He said. "So the herbs are the leaves and spices are the rest of the plant?"


He started to walk away, and then I realized I'm at the library and have a higher responsibility to accuracy than just winging it. "That's just off the top of my head." I said. "Do you want me to look it up to be sure?"

"No thanks. I'm good."

As soon as the guy was gone I looked it up.

My answer was right. 


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Larry Davidson


Maybe memory is like this:

Every second that passes lays down a clear sheet one can see right through. It does not obstruct one's view back into the past to what happened minutes ago. But with time there are so many layers. And looking through the thousands of layers of our history it grows cloudier and cloudier. Soon only the brightest, sharpest, and most well-defined moments of our lives are at all visible or distinct as we peer down among the endless, obscuring lamination.

History slowly makes us blind.

My dear friend Grape sent me a picture of a long ago old friend, Larry Davidson. Larry Davidson had a one man show that Grape went to see. Grape told me nice things about the show, measured things, but very positive.

I didn't really recognize the skinny, funny kid I knew as a 14-year-old in this lumpy picture of a modern day Larry Davidson. 

Or I sort of did? 

Though the picture was perfectly clear, it was all so blurry, and cloudy, and fogged with time.

I was good friends with Larry Davidson from maybe 1976 to 1980. He was the funniest kid I knew in Middle School and High School. He once went to school dressed as Jesus, carrying a cross with him.

Jesus is always funny. Have I told you the Goldstein's Nails joke?

Maybe another time then.

I am now going to tell you all I remember, all I can see down there, of Larry Davidson. It will take less time than my introduction. Underneath this pittance of murky memory I have a feeling. Strange, vague, affectionate, dry, just beyond my reach, a feeling for and about Larry Davidson, buried under the lost shapes of history, invisible to the eye. 

I can't tell you that feeling. I don't know how. 

So I just have this impossibly small, nearly meaningless list of... things about Larry Davidson. Some of them might not even be accurate. But here they are.

1. Larry's dad was a doctor.

2. Larry had two younger sisters.

3. Larry's house backed out onto the upper fields of our High School.

4. Larry was the first person to tell me about Star Wars, saying it was this amazing movie that people waited in line for hours to watch over and over. He may have watched it over and over.

5. Larry was the first person I knew who had a computer, and his was the first computer I ever played on. We played a space conquering game where when you attacked a planet the computer could take hours, even days to calculate the battle. While it did this the computer couldn't be used.

6. Larry was friends with Matt Behrens, but I never understood how much he was friends with Matt Behrens.

7. Larry's birthday may have been in late August.

And that is everything I can tell you about Larry Davidson.

It is not much.

But it is more than he will tell you about me in his one-man show.

So there's that.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

My graffiti wall


Quite nearby here is a local graffiti wall. I have shown a few pictures from this wall in the past, but it has a couple of things working against it. One, it is tucked down underneath the river road trail with a very weedy and narrow path next to it that has a perilously steep drop into the ravine just a few feet back of the art. This makes it challenging to see the artwork with any perspective, and also, of course, makes it difficult to photograph. The second problem is that the work on this wall isn't great. Oh, sometimes it's pretty good, but I've seen very few really impressive pieces along this long wall. For these two reasons I hadn't been down to this wall all this season.

But today, a hot and sunny one, I decided to duck down and see what was up down there, not least because it would be shady. I was most pleased! The first problem was naturally unaltered. Here is a sample of the trail leading in to the best area of the wall and to where it starts to narrow dramatically.

Here it shows how we're high up above the river and won't be taking any nice, distant shots of the pieces on the wall:

But as to the second problem I was surprised and delighted- the work was the best I've seen on this wall since I started going down here a few years ago. They are bright and clear and well designed graffiti artworks.


And if you can find it in your heart generously allow that these are broken pieces of the artwork, photographed at less flattering angles, you may appreciate some of the excellent quality of this graffiti, I mean, if you are ever inclined to appreciate the quality of graffiti.

To help you envision this work there were a couple of spots where I could back a little further out onto the cliff and maybe took a couple of better, slightly more formal shots. The third of these, a picture of a marijuana robot called "Side Kick!" is very much my favorite:

It occurs to me that, originally for privacy and work reasons, I have never mentioned my "real" name here on clerkmanifesto, and I'm not going to now. But for those of you in the know, the significance of the following piece will be clear and will explain the title of today's post.

And then to round this photo essay out I present the remainder of my pictures from this wall, concluding with an interesting, slightly inscrutable note from a graffiti artist whose work I've seen around here enough to recognize his name:

Friday, June 24, 2022

Key word: Grizzly


Yesterday, during a pleasant chat we had at the front desk of the library (I mostly talked), I let drop something like a teaser suggesting that some grizzlies might show up soon in clerkmanifesto.

Naturally you wondered "Will this be the first appearance of grizzlies in clerkmanifesto?"

It may be the first pictures of grizzlies here, as I don't run into them that often, but a keyword search shows me that grizzlies have shown up here in clerkmanifesto half a dozen times. I suppose that over the course of nine or ten years my dream of clerkmanifesto becoming its own private library kind of snuck up on me and became true. Grizzly is pretty random, but hit the link below and you will find a reasonably characteristic clerkmanifesto post:

Of course, once there, in the upper left corner is a search box and a person can use it like its own, strange google universe. I randomly typed in "pickle" and got directed to three historical posts. I offer this all not as a suggestion though, just a comment on my own discovery.

My grizzly pictures below didn't come out in a completely cohesive way. For one thing a couple other animals showed up in the grizzly book and made their way into my pictures. For another thing, even though my plan was to put all the grizzlies into the environment of my library, some of the grizzlies were happier along the trails of my local river.

One last thing before our pictures today; If a grizzly bear charges at you that means that you are reading my blog in the wilderness, which is super neat! So thanks. 

Oh, also the charge is an affectionate bluff. 

All grizzly bears like you.