Saturday, December 31, 2022

The year in quotes


As you know we don't really do "blog posts in review" around here. But I'm pretty sure that over the last several years we sometimes end the year with a collection of quotes from our 364 previous blog posts. We especially do this when we are very slow to get over Covid and don't feel like talking anymore right now about coughing or trying to explain all the TV shows we are watching.

Of course, the trick is finding quotes from the past year.

Here is what I was able to come up with. Whether they somehow tell a representative tale of what I have written here I am not sure. There are so few that perhaps this arch collection presents something more like "the vibe":


The more uncomfortable the truth, the more exacting will be the proofs required.


History slowly makes us blind.


I suppose everything everywhere all averages out to explain everything.


Like in the vast preponderance of all malfeasance in this world, the burden of our guilt is indeed the only price to pay.


It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But I have seen "words" and am eager to say:

It really does depend upon the words in question.

Friday, December 30, 2022



I have been working with these cathedral pictures for the past two days. These started from some detailed photographs I took of other pictures of cathedrals in books, but the images then go on a very long journey after that. With all the filtering, AI, mirroring, and object additions I use I'd actually think they would look less like cathedrals than they still do.

There may be more tomorrow so I hope you like them.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Measuring tape


The branch manager of my library asked me if I could order him a 25 foot measuring tape. As I am in charge of supply ordering for our library branch, I said "Yes."

I looked on Amazon.

For less than eight dollars Amazon carried a 25 foot measuring tape that received an average of 4.8 stars.

That is an incredible deal! 

I would like to get measuring tapes for everyone! I would like to get a measuring tape for you, and you, and you, and you!

If only I could!

An aside:

I am in no way being remunerated by any measuring tape company or lobby.

All of this simply comes from my heart, or possibly from my sense of how much I think a tape measure should cost. Maybe more the second of these? Shouldn't it cost more like 12 dollars for a good quality 25 foot tape measure? I mean, is this a wildly good deal or do I have an inflated view of the value of tape measures?

So I ordered two tape measures for us at the library. This is one more than is strictly necessary. But I have found that for any tool at a library, a stapler, or scissors, or even a tape measure, one must have a minimum of two. There will always be one of them that is missing, and one that never is.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Back in the world


After my long illness I finally returned to the community. Today was my first day back at the library in a week and a half! I had so much to catch up on with everybody!

Unfortunately they were all off, either for holidays, or because they were sick, or both.

It wasn't just my co-workers either. It was everybody; no patrons, no staff, just me.

I was the only one at the library today.

But that can be more people than one might think.

Or to put it another way:

I needed a lot of help! But I was glad to provide it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022



Having spent the large majority of Covid Infection Time watching high profile competition TV shows I am here to briefly report on the prizes.

One show awarded a million dollars to the winner!

One show awarded an opportunity for the winners to ply their skills at a particularly unique place.

And one show, perhaps the most rigorous and competitive of the three, offered nothing but pride of victory.

I liked the third kind of reward best. Another favorite competition show of ours, The Great British Baking Show, awards a mere cake stand!

But that's how I work here on clerkmanifesto: For the simple joy of success as its own reward!

Nothing can damage the purity of that feeling. 

And the fact that Google is making millions off of me is beside the point.


Monday, December 26, 2022

Testing positive


Oh, I feel okay.

Runny nose, but not much. Occasional cough, a bit tired, but nearly well. 

But my Covid test is...


Or negative?

Whatever the bad one is where a person has Covid, lots and lots of Covid.

And it's not just like a regular positive test. I mean my first positive test was more than a week ago, and the essential "T" line was present but faint at that time. We looked up that result and the Internet said that even a faint T line means Covid because one has to have to have a lot of Covid in one's system for there to be any line at all! 

But it also said that yes, the darker the line is the more Covid there is, for good or ill.

Mostly ill.

Well my "T" line on my test today is currently super dark. 

I mean thick as a wrist, and black as the night.

My Covid test stick is drowning in Covid. It is the black hole of Covid. It is all of China's Covid represented in a single place.

I am currently the epicenter of all Covid on Planet Earth!

So my question is:

When do I return to work?

Sunday, December 25, 2022



I know that most of my readers are Pagans.



Forest animals.

River Gods.

Ghosts and angels.

Complicated alien beings from far distant galaxies.

And, after all, so am I.

But I can't help but look out my window right now and think:

Merry Christmas.

And that's okay with me too.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

When I can tell I'm not that sick anymore


I have been sick with Covid for a full week now. That's a lot of sitting around eating what I can bear to, drinking endless quarts of water, and watching TV shows. As for the TV shows at first there were some old movies we'd seen a million times before. Then there was the new season of Emily in Paris, which I understand is a personal taste, but I quite like it. That went by quick.  From there it has been all homey British Competition Shows. One involved Interior design and was interesting. The next concerned, well, not flower arranging, it was more like large scale plant sculpture. Teams of two had to make things like giant insects or fairytale scenes out of plants and flowers and stuff. I really liked that one and was sad there was only one season of it. Do you know how long it takes for sick people to watch one season of a British Competition show? 

Part of a day.

I have full days to take care of here!!!!

Which brings me to my point today.

How can I tell that I'm not all that ill from Covid anymore?

I listlessly lay about all day eating sorbetto and watching TV...

and I like it!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Argentina five days later


It feels much longer than five days since Argentina won the World Cup in what amounts to the culmination of my arduous soccer watching career.

This feels like a long time to me, but that may be because of my being sick with Covid that whole time, and so some part of my brain is measuring those days in coughs.

There have been a lot of TV shows watched in that time too.

Many people are calling that final the greatest sporting match ever played.

I fancy a bit of hyperbole myself. 

It was my favorite result from any sporting match ever. I'll readily say that!  And I suppose it was an emblematic game of soccer, full of drama, great moments, heroism, and changes of fortune. It was operatic.

Soccer is the most narrative of sports.

And this World Cup was a great narrative:

The most gifted player of all time lifted the greatest trophy in the sport in the twilight of his career.

But what's a little weird about soccer is that brilliant soccer, and great moments of virtuosity in the game, can easily have almost nothing to do with results.

But I'll admit:

I find it a relief when there's even a rough correlation.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

White can be beautiful


Not that many days ago I referenced a classic Melanie song while I was talking about Winter:

White can be beautiful, but mostly it's not.

Her comment was in a song about not eating animals, but wisdom is wisdom, n'est ce pas? And I found it a suddenly insightful comment in regards to Winter.

Unlike the wall to wall beauty of Spring or Fall around here, Winter strips the land bare, reveals the dirt of the city, and exposes the thinness of our scant urban wilderness. Or more specifically, it covers everything in a thick, glorious and angelic shimmer of white, and then, in something like an over-speeded time lapse it turns grey and thin and bare and dead and mottled. It is punctured by urine and showered in the residue of the toxic exhaust of a city.

Oh white can be beautiful, but mostly it's not.

But it is snowing now and god it's lovely. 

Housebound, sick for days, all I can do, ALL I can do, is look out the window

and marvel.

This city in the good part of Winter:

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Covid, day number: eleventy-aught-whatever



Your Covid reporter is up and at 'em before dawn to give you all the latest and greatest on, um, how to put it?

Covid's march through my body!

Now it does sound like I am up very early with all this "before dawn" stuff, but we should remember that it is somewhere right around the Winter Solstice in the northlands here. So as I look out my window into pitch blackness it is nevertheless almost seven in the morning and I'm starting to think the sun might be broken!

So the scene is set.

I mean not that we needed a scene for me to offer a few words about Covid symptoms, but what's done is done.

I have read about, speculated upon, worried over, and heard the story of many people's Covid symptoms over the past few years.

There are some that I am thrilled not to have, and hope I don't develop, and it does seem like I probably won't? I don't have any breathing or oxygen sorts of problems it seems. Brain fog isn't an issue. I'm not really exhausted in any way that some people talk about.

Some symptoms feel almost inevitable to me, like I was sure to get them and have; the kind of incessant cough (I'm so sorry to my wife!) that, in sickness, I have been prone to in the past, fever, runny nose, and I'm pretty sure my taste and smell are gone.

I am jealous of the many people I have known who contracted Covid and felt sick for a day or two and then were over it. Or the ones who were like "It was mild. It was like a cold." This is my fourth day (though I don't know how to count the flu/cold I had two weeks ago that never totally went away before blossoming back into... this. On this fourth day I do feel a little better, but my fever and misery oscillates enough I can't quite be sure yet. But I definitely, blessedly, now cough less.

I am less jealous, but still possibly jealous, of the many people I have heard about who seem to get Covid and are exhausted and just sleep, a lot! I am pretty sure if I could sleep more than four or five hours on some night it would help my condition considerably. I sleep for an hour or two. Drink some water, cough, lie in bed for an hour or two not sleeping, and repeat until the sleeping part stops working altogether.

At which point I get out of bed and tell you all about it.

May you fare better. Or have fared better. 

Or, miracle of miracles, never get it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

No rest


It is not in the nature of Clerkmanifesto to take a "day off". And so even with my hacking cough and my 101 degree temperature and a general sense of mild covid misery, here I am, just as I always am, driven by a mystical pact who's source is now fogged in time.

And I'm not just writing to fulfill some quota. I have important things to say. I have a shout out to the World. I have the keys, all the keys, and I have chosen this tiny golden one today.

Now if I could just find the lock among all this kleenex.

Monday, December 19, 2022

The circle of life


There is a strange momentousness to this day, a closing of two circles.

One circle involves how after three years of writing about, thinking about, fending off, and occasionally obsessing over Covid, I finally have it. I first wrote about it here just barely under three years ago, before, apparently, the CDC had even declared it an International Health Concern. Looking at that post, which you can see at this link:

I find it an odd mix of rambling and extremely prescient insight. The capturing of the quality and feel of my current symptoms is positively uncanny. 

Let's just say I am coughing a lot.

The other circle involves Lionel Messi and the World Cup. 

Over the years of my intense focus on his feats I have written as few blog posts about him as I could manage to restrain myself, but there are still a fair number. I first saw him in the World Cup eight and a half years ago. He utterly captured my attention as possibly the most magically skilled athlete at his sport, at any sport, that I had ever seen. He lost the World Cup Final that year and I had some harsh words for the Argentina team. I have since learned volumes more about soccer and have watched hundreds and hundreds of games, most of which featured Messi. Nevertheless I did have the gist of the whole thing back then. And everything that was missing from that Argentina team eight years ago was thankfully, joyously there this time as they won the World Cup.

 They did not win by a team spirit that refused to too much elevate Messi, like last time. They instead won through a team spirit that was formed through a love of Messi.

It was very satisfying. 

Maybe even a tiny bit more satisfying than this Covid is dismal.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

World Cup Final


Considering what a big deal a World Cup Final is to the sporting world and to all the, er, the ball watchers of Earth, it is amazing that today is only the 22nd one of these to ever happen.

22! In almost a hundred years!

I guess that scarcity is why this game is such a big deal, so big a deal that


I mean, except I will watch, though perhaps the pleasure of it is getting edged out by something like dread, or terror.

Oh well, que sera sera.

Most of my readers are unlikely to encounter this post before The World Cup Final is played, and some may be like, politely, "Oh, who won?" Without much caring about the answer. But some readers are sweating blood during the game, or in agony in its aftermath, or unbridled joy. People are different, which is one of the tritest observations I have ever made in the history of this blog, and yet somehow continues to confuse me with an astonishing regularity.

So who will win?

The devout superstition of this blog's discussion of this World Cup prescribes me to say:


France is going to win.

Not that I'm happy about that.

Oh, no, not    at      all.

Anyway, we are on then now to the final, with our dread and hope and indifference and superstition all crammed together. After all that wild stuff happened, through 63 matches, it is, one last time, all to play for. I leave us all on the brink of a precipice, as we always are, everyday, the mundane and terrible, wild and wonderful future obscured from every human being who ever breathed. 

And that, for good or ill, is true of us all, no matter how different any of us might be.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

The bridge as it should be

Yesterday I talked about my dissatisfactions with a local river bridge, a bridge that has everything going for it, and then throws it all away...

...for cars!

And I talked about how I was compelled to take pictures of the bridge and twist them around to try and make it become the bridge I wish it was. And that even with a lot of photo trickery my pictures were falling short.

My readers agreed.

I heard that those pictures were not very satisfying. 

I heard that those pictures did not satisfy the dreams I had of what that bridge should be.

And I knew that it was so.

So I figured I should take the brakes off and just go for it. And if my new pictures look pretty much nothing like the original bridge, well, if that's what it takes... 

Here are way too many pictures of what my local bridge should look like: