What Paghat the Ratgirl doesn't know?
On Thursday, November 22, 2001 at 4:42:32 PM UTC+11, paghat wrote:
In article , Dennis wrote:
After lurking for a bit and then having a question answered spot on, I
have remained here and done much interesting reading in this
newsgroup, a lot of which was posted by paghat, I am amazed at the
breadth and depth of the ratgirl's knowledge on a seemingly endless
list of topics...whether or not on topic for this newsgroup.
Either the ratgirl knows far more than anybody here...or she does more
research than anyone here before posting...or nobody at her house will
listen to her anymore...OR she is totally snowing us into believing
her knowledgable posts.
I'm throwing out a challenge for the ratgirl to come clean and tell us
if there is a subject she might be as ignorant as the rest of us on?
And no fair using my favourite quote which is "I made a mistake
once...I thought I was wrong but it turned out I was right."
Keep on hitting those keys ratgirl!
You too can be an expert if you speak only to things you've always been
interested in & for which you have at least an iota of passion, while
skipping by those things you never looked into or which bore the bejabbers
out of you. Someone just asked about Parthenocissus propogation -- on
that I'm clueless. But next year I will be "filling in" many of the cracks
(& fence walls) in my garden with vines, & will have done a lot of
research before selecting which are best for my purpose -- I could well be
superficially expert on virginia creepers & all sorts of vines by Spring,
but at the moment, not much there.
To some extent a good photographer is someone who knew which negatives to
destroy before anyone saw them, & a genius is only someone who avoided
topics on which they'd for sure sound retarded. In another newsgroup I
made a very big error on a historical topic -- an embarrassingly simple
thing about the War in the Pacific which just couldn't have been true but
I'd long thought it was true so it popped out in one of my
hastily-composed UseNet posts. I'm actually very smart on medieval Japan
as I read something like 3,000 books on every aspect of medieval arts,
history, & daily life in old Japan; I read Heien diaries & biwahoshi epic
verses & studied kempo & iaido & learned Zen cookery & viewed on average 5
Japanese movies a week for ten years. And in that period of my life I
wrote three novels for the Berkley Group drawing imaginatively on that
history. I learned far less about Japan's 20th Century history, a little
but it wasn't enough to avoid a very fundamental error of fact. When the
error was pointed out, a couple folks afterward thought it was proof of an
enormous spirit that I was quick to flame myself for an error, but it's
only that I like to flame stupidity & don't exempt myself from the
philosophy, "Everyone, at heart, is a fool." Which is not actually cynical
in the Zen context.
Anyone can seem knowledgeable by responding only to stuff they've cared
about a long time. My late beloved step-mom was a Thai Buddhist bikuni
raised in a monastary, & my primary religious exposure when young was to
Buddhism & I attended Buddhist temple for many years, but my dad's an
unobservant Jew which somehow induced me to study primitive forms of
Judaism & the kabbalah which I noticed was just awfully similar Tantricism
-- & I got captivated by interfaith studies. The mythology of the Tree of
Life could be twisted a little to apply to mortal gardening if I wanted to
write that up, & I'd seem such a colorful garden-mystic, but it's a little
like answering questions I myself posed because I already knew the
I think almost everyone has a body of rather peculiar & off-beat knowledge
if they think about it long enough. But if it's true I've flittered among
even more odd topics than most folks, it's likely because I'm also
notoriously bookish. I went 25 years never owning a television (I do own
one now & really love some pretty dumb shows) which kept me in the habit
of reading -- & my house looks rather like a library maze. I was often
bewildered when trapped with a group of people who knew everything about
Dallas or Dynasty, neither of which I ever saw even for a minute & is to
this day totally meaningless to me beyond whatever reached me while
reading tabloid headlines standing in supermarket lines. What everyone
else knows, I frequently do not know; world-rivetting fads passed me by
while I read Victorian tales, medieval epic verse & sacred texts, &
ancient Greek plays.
Most people divide each day between 8 hours sleep, more than 8 hours at
some mind-dulling bullshit job getting pushed around by a nitwit boss, &
if they have six hours left over to attempt to have a life, it won't go to
study or even to family, it'll be spent half dead in front of a television
(or nowadays surfing the net) which is on six hours a day in most
households. I'm lucky to work for myself in a somewhat successful
occupation that keeps me involved with books -- writing & editing new
ones, collecting & selling old ones -- & setting my own hours & sluffing
off if I want then getting all panicky & industrious when deadlines
approach. Time others spend steaming on a freeway going to & from work, I
spend gardening or dicking around on UseNet -- & even the work hours
includes reading/researching which I'd be doing even if I didn't get paid
to do it. How many people get paid for stuff they'd do for free? Good lord
I'm lucky. Now if only I could get paid for dicking around on UseNet.
I'm presently putting together a collection of short stories by Jerome K.
Jerome & am writing a long monograph on his life & works that will serve
as Introduction to that collection. So at least until it all fades from my
aging memory I get to be an expert on Jerome K. Jerome. But quite often my
oddball expertise interests few but myself, & all those Dynasty or
football fans really don't care if I have a couple amusing tales to tell
about Jerome K. Jerome. It sometimes feels like I'm only really
comfortable when I'm hanging out at some bookish convention with a bunch
of cranks & weirdos. I went to an academic conference a few months back &
met a woman who'd just published a monograph on the eroticism of the act
of historical research. Until that meeting, I'd thought I was the only
researcher who had hot fantasies about research subjects. I almost
imagined I was Julian Hawthorne's wife in a previous life since she died
the same year I was born -- a passing fancy while I was reading his
unpublished personal letters & really falling in love with who he was,
beyond just being the son of Nathaniel that is. So here I am at dinner
with someone who was a stranger two hours earlier & we're talking about
sex fantasies with historical & literary figures of the past. By contrast
sometimes even with friends I've known for years, I feel totally
disconnected when what they've fixed on is some soap opera or a sports
event, I feel like an alien from another planet when among people with
"normal" interests. And I end up rubbing some people wrong if I don't keep
my mouth shut & start ranting about the banality of such ordinary stuff &
why the hell haven't any of you read Tasso (which now & then earns me an
"I have read Tasso you bitch -- now let's get back to football").
In this ng, I see 300 posts on specific gardening issues & plants I know
nothing whatsoever about so don't comment; then one suggests there's
something helpless about Arabic women -- well heck, I wrote a book with
some stuff in it about this subject published by Anchor Doubleday, & a
producer of Xena told it was practically their Bible. So I could knock off
some cool stuff on that peculiar topic, was just lucky someone else
brought it up. Or the goats in the garden topic -- just happened to have
had a pet goat I loved a great deal & fed & milked & played with daily, so
could speak to that. Raised bunnies too, all sorts of beasties really, I
even have herpetological expertise, so just wait until someone wants to
know about the salamander they found in their garden! You or anyone else
can be just as brilliant on random topics if you select carefully, just
watch for any opportunity to show off whatever it is you've gained
knowledge about, & go for it.
It's a thin distinction between a know-it-all, & a knows-some-odd-
stuff-really-well but most things not at all.
Any time I'm planning to get something for my gardens, I research it in as
much depth as I can in the books on my shelf & on the web & even just
chatting with other gardeners in my neighborhood. Though occasionally I
mistakenly do it backward by researching a plant after I get it,
occasionally discovering I made a booboo, like when I bought one of the
most beautiful ferns I ever saw in my life before knowing it was
thoroughly tropical & I had an unexpected houseplant.
The weeping Cedar of Lebanon that was just installed in my yard this
morning -- I did all the gardening research on it this week, but strangely
enough I'd already done research on the MYTHOLOGY surrounding this tree
some years back as part of my interfaith studies, so in the next two or
three days I'm going to be dragging out some of the midrashim &
SumeroAkkadian translations & biblical texts, besides my own old notes, to
refresh my memory on all that, & i MIGHT end up posting about some of the
kabbalistic meanings of prophetic references to the cedar in
JudeoChristian myth (as a mythology buff not a bible thumper -- my
Buddhist upbringing left me pretty sturdily agnostic or nearly athiestic,
but I love the topic even so). For me personally, looking into such an
extraordinary tree's mythology deepens my appreciation of having that tree
come into my garden & into my life. And if anyone from this week on ever
asks about cedars of lebanon, I'll know some answers, but 500 other types
of trees which people will ask about I will know little or nothing.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Here dwell souls that did neither evil nor good."
For all of your self-righteous tirades against people with different opinions to yourself I am astounded that you do not follow your own advice. Your comment about "a lot of gardeners incorporate as factual even the most irresponsible advertising copy" can just as easily be applied to you, you hypocrite.
Your post about "deadly polymers in your garden" shows your severe lack of knowledge about polymers which is ironic since your favourite subject matter primarily consists of "natural polymers". Some of the breakdown products of naturally occurring chemicals are themselves toxic.
Please stick to subject matter you know in depth instead of spouting off on subjects about which you barely know.
From a QUALIFIED Polymer Chemist with an actual degree to back it up.
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