Saturday, October 31, 2020

Van the Man

Upon further review I think my comment on CL's post was overly negative, but I remember when Van wrote tunes that moved you, both musically and lyrically. This is one:

Brown eyed girl. 

Great bass line, interesting chord changes, good counter melodies, a solid rock beat and it is a tune that has held up for decades.

Into the mystic.

This one has great interplay between the lyrics and the music. What genius.

Some call him an Irish mystic - I know not of such things, but at times I get the sense he tapped into something beyond what we can see and hear.

Who doesn't like Tupelo Honey?

Some jazz by Van on a night with a full moon.


Okay, I will stop now.

That's the kind of music I think of when I think of Van.


Lyrics after the jump. Pretty edgy for Van Morrison

Friday, October 30, 2020

Tale of two hurricanes

 The first one was named Hurricane Zeta, for reasons unknown to me, and it brought some wind and rain. We lost branches on trees locally, our power blipped once, but not far from here folks were without power for 5 hours or more. So we dodged a bullet there.

After that storm blew through another storm hit. It brought heavier rain, but luckily the tornadoes that were forecast did not materialize. Also, that storm had no name. 

So I have spent the last couple of days picking up sticks in my yard and burning them. Since I run in the dark it is important that there be no branches on my track. A fall could be serious to an old duffer like me. As I was picking up maple and apple branches I found this:

What do we have here, you might ask. I will tell you - that is mistletoe! I had seen it in a neighbor's tree but never in any of my trees. Then the wind snapped that chunk off my silver maple and then I found some more still growing in the crown:

So yay, I have a good crop of mistletoe this year. Now I need to figure out what to do with it. 

We had a nice sunrise this morning.

Now the weather is turning cold, a frost is comin' and it is time for me to harvest my purple sweet pertaters.

Did someone mention John Prine?

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Beato on Bach


If you need a chuckle, turn on the CC - it is a proofreader's nightmare.

After watching a number of Beato videos I can try to follow what Bach was doing but about 30 seconds in I am lost - I need Beato to explain chord by chord just what is going on in there.

One is a Manet, two are mayonnaise

 I forgot to include a quote in a previous post:

O Muse!

Sing in me, and through me tell the story

Of that man skilled in the ways of contending,

A wanderer, harried for years on end...

The other day I watched a show about Edouard Manet and I learned a thing or two. First, he died of syphilis at the age of 51, naughty boy, and that he painted a picture of a dog named Bob:

For whatever reason I thought that picture kind of looked like Manet himself, but what do I know, I am not an art critic.

The whole show, which I recommend, was done by Waldemar Januszczak and it reminded me of a cartoon I saw in the New Yorker years ago:

That one still makes me laugh.

Yesterday I completed the white oak burl bowl which had been giving me trouble - I figured out how to mount it to the lathe in a way that allowed me to finish the inside of the bowl. I left the top edge rough, with the chainsaw marks I created when I sawed the burl off the log, and the bottom of the bowl still has the checked and aged branch stub visible. All in all, it is a different sort of object.

The swirly burl grain shows up nicely I think:

Monday, October 26, 2020

On Who's Worse Than Book People?

I just finished reading the transcript released by Trump of the unedited version of the 60 Minutes interview.

The excerpts presented at Powerline were enough to make me look and I'm sorry/not sorry I did.  Silently reading through the full exchange that took place was one experience and reading parts of the transcript aloud was another.  Both experiences gave me the opportunity to  "see and hear" more of what truly transpired than the edited video version presented by CBS or the excerpts presented by Powerline allowed.  I needed to read the whole thing myself to take in the content and form my own opinion. 

All of which led me to wonder (after appreciating the previous post and point on book people), who might actually be worse than them?  

The first answer that came up was mendacious interviewers, followed by liars who posit and wax on about character, with those who are purposely obtuse, profoundly ignorant and willfully blind following close behind.    

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Book People Are The Worst

Back when I was a bookseller I knew an old couple -- I'll call them John and Jane Doe -- who were collectors. John and Jane were genuine "Cave Dwellers," members of Washington's old white aristocracy: Cosmos Club, patrons of the arts, friends in high places and all that. Also they were very nice, friendly and interesting people. Their home is the only place I ever saw a "Franklin Imprint" -- a book made at Ben Franklin's print shop -- that I could pick up and leaf through.

One day, probably at a book fair, a friend and I were chatting with John and Jane. Jane mentioned a disturbing dream she'd had: she had died, and was lying on her bed, surrounded by friends and family. "They were all talking to one another," she said sadly, "but I couldn't hear what they were saying." After an awkward pause, my friend said, "They were arguing over who gets your books."


Lots of talk in a previous post about smuggling and even cognac. I thought I'd add mine.  I smuggled a bottle of "Havana Club" rum back from Grand Cayman. That disappeared over time, but my globetrotting FIL replaced the bottle and I still have some of that bottle. But it's stuck back in Irvine which is no longer my home. The Hackman said that Havana Club rum tastes like cognac:

Actually, it tastes a little gamey to me and I much prefer the version marketed by Bacardi instead of the stolen Cuban version. Here's that story:

Unbeknownst to most Americans, there is an ongoing trademark battle between Big Spirits (Bacardi vs. Pernod and the Cuban government).  Long ago, there was a brand of Cuban rum called Havana Club. After the revolution, the distillery and brand were appropriated by the Cuban government. Bacardi also left Havana and set up business in Puerto Rico with corporate headquarters in Bermuda. The Cubans (with financial help from the Europeans, i.e., Pernod) built the international brand of Havana Club which was available everywhere but the US. I have a bottle, procured on my honeymoon in the Caymans, which I smuggled back to the US.

More recently, Barcardi started marketing their own version of Havana Club rum in the US. They claim to have gotten the rights and original formula from the family of the long-dead owner. They are currently engaged in high-stakes litigation over who has the legal right to sell rum in the US under that brand name. Currently, Bacardi does and wants to continue to do so. Bacardi is prohibited from marketing their Havana Club in the rest of the world.

As an aside, I should point out that rum used to be the most popular spirit in the US. Recall that Rhett Butler was a rum runner, not a whiskey runner. Whiskey -- and related bourbon -- dominate the US spirits market, but only became more popular during and after prohibition. In George Washington's day, applejack was the most popular hard liquor. Whiskey is presently losing ground to tequila as the number one spirit in the US, just as Bud/Coors/Miller is losing market share in beer to Pacifico/Modelo/Corona.

Saturday, October 24, 2020


 I made some critters out of some scraps from other projects:

I have no idea what any of them mean, they are just three dimensional doodles.

It was 80 degrees here today, my apple tree is blooming, again, and insects are back. This lady bug landed on me as I was working and I ignored it until it bit me. Who knew those little guys were biters?. I encouraged him to move along:

Speaking of flying things, a small plane flew over very low - maybe at an altitude of 200-250 feet. It was an old one, I could tell by the sound of the engine:

There were thunderclouds off to the north - I went running after dark and I could see lightning in the northern sky but it was so far away I couldn't hear the thunder:

I also heard some barred owls in the woods across the street - I assume they are migrating south this time of year. 

New York is a ghost many ghosts

 The Nat Sherman cigar store on Fifth Avenue has announced that it will close after 90 years
. Yes Cuomo and DeBlasio have done everything they can to destroy New York and all of it's institutions.

Back in the day in 1980's when cigars were in their heyday I would be invited to Nat Shermans for events where they premiered new cigars. Actually my buddy was invited as he had a space in their humidor for his cigars but he was always invited to bring some friends who were into the hobby. I would always spend more than I wanted too and would buy a couple of boxes of cigars. We often went to other events like the cigar cruise around Manhattan that was pretty cool. It was a five course dinner with a cognac and cigar for every course. A lot of fun.

Fun that doesn't exist in New York anymore. They control where you shop. They control how many people can meet up in a bar. They have destroyed the only reason to live in a city.

Another landmark pulled down and destroyed. 

Coyote Waits.......for no one

 Did you hear President Trump explain to Slow Joe that many if not most of the unaccompanied children in federal custody were brought by coyotes and cartels and not their irresponsible parents. Many bad actors with records bring a child who is not their own when they sneak in because if they were caught they would get a catch and release ticket. Dump the kid off to human traffickers and go on their merry criminal way.

Now you have a bunch of moron liberals (redundant) saying how would a coyote carry a kid over the border. Anyone with half a brain knows that coyote is the nickname for the smugglers and human traffickers who capitalize on human misery and help illegals invade our country. What a bunch of ignorant assholes. That's why they are liberal democrats and social justice warriors.

The coyote is an important figure in Native American religious lore especially the tribes of the South West like the Navajo and the Apache. Coyote is the trickster. The boogie man. There are innumerable stories of how the Coyote tricks people and steals from them in one way or another. So it is a very ironic appellation to call smugglers Coyotes. Irony is lost on the woke.

As an aside I highly recommend the novel by Tony Hillerman called "Coyote Waits":

It is one in the series of his Lieutenant Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee mystery novels set on the Navajo reservation. In fact I think it might be the best in the series.  You learn a lot about the culture and practices of the Navajo along with a solid crime story. Hillerman is one of the top crime writers that you should have on your kindle. Along with Robert B Parker, John D MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane and Loren D Estleman. Also Joe Lansdale and Michael Connolly. You can while away these quarantine hours with any of their novels and it will be time well spent.

So this happened .....again


I was minding my own business as I was washing my balls and all of a sudden a pin hole opened up in one of my veins. Since it was kind of serious because I take blood thinners I had to call on Lisa for help. She was upstairs working on her crystal show on Popshoplive. This is a home shopping app that we have been selling on since they first started a couple of years ago. I couldn't take my finger off it because I had to apply pressure to control the bleeding. If I did let go I would spew blood everywhere. I couldn't reach the phone as I was half in and half out of the shower. I called her on Alexa. What you do is call out an announcement on Alexa. "Alex announce: Lisa come to the basement I am bleeding out."

Which was not actually happening as I have been here before. You can't panic you just have to stop the bleeding. I just need the paramedics to come with a pressure bandage. After the requisite five minutes of panic she called them and they came down to the cellar and put on the bandage. Of course I was buck ass naked while he did that.

In the meantime the people on the app were freaking out. We have a little community that come every week and are used to our banter. So they were naturally worried and wondering what was going on.

Of course Lisa had to bring the fireman to guest star on the show and all of the women creamed their jeans because the dude was good looking. Those bitches forgot all about me.

I told them that he had seen my junk so he was off sex for a long time.

In the meantime we were losing sales. We have the ability to split screens so while Lisa was running around doing what I usually do for the show I was on the split screen. I told them that the only way I would feel better is if they bought more stuff. While I was saying that I went to Youtube and played the Sarah McLachlan song that they use on the ASPC commercials that play on late night TV were they show the pitiful dogs and ask for donations.

It worked and they started buying stuff.

You got to keep your eye on the balls. Ehh......the ball. You know what I mean.'

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Small Businesses that didn't quite cut it.


Many of the people associated with great inventors or innovators try to cash in on the inventions with products related to the great advances made by the works of genius of great minds.

Billy Edison set up a light bulb company that failed. Walt Disney's brother tried to interest some studios in a movie about a talking cockroach since the mouse was so successful. Henry Ford's brother invented electric car that could never make it out of the driveway.

The most unsuccessful of all was the secretary of Alexander Graham Bell who tried to invent a portable phone. Selma Goldstein tried to invent a portable phone which didn't quite work out. You see miniaturization was in it's infancy. Unfortunately the only phones available were big and clunky and would not fit your purse or your pocket. So she came up with the idea that it would be placed on your head.

Alexander Graham Bell invested a great deal of money and lost all. He had a lot of faith in Selma. You see she was an expert on head. After all that was why he hired her in the first place.

(Small Businesses That Didn't Quite Cut It by Doris Kearns Goodwin)

Jesus wept.....the Devil's henchman strikes again.


 Once again Satan's henchman the false Pope Francis has signed an agreement to let the Chinese Communist government control the Catholic Church in China. The Vatican has signed on to extend the surrender of the Church to the filthy communists. The former Cardinal of Hong Kong Joseph Zen tells the truth about this evil evil man. From Breitbart: 

“With the protection of this agreement, the government forced the people from the underground to join the Patriotic Association… which is objectively schismatic,” Cardinal Joseph Zen told AFP this week, adding that the underground community has “practically disappeared” as a result.
In his ongoing criticism of the Vatican’s rapprochement with the CCP, Zen has insisted that Pope Francis is “naïve” in dealing with a country about which he knows little.
“The pope doesn’t know much about China. And he may have some sympathy for the Communists, because in South America, the Communists are good guys, they suffer for social justice,” Zen told the Catholic News Agency (CNA). “But not the [Chinese] Communists. They are persecutors.”

Will no one rid us of this troublesome Pope?

I voted today

It took me twenty five minutes from the time I left my house until I returned, and that includes the time I waited in line. There was a steady stream of leftists and assorted communists showing up to vote, and plenty of them were working the polling place, too. No guns or knives were allowed in the place, but I did use my Cold Steel cane for support, you know, as it was a long hike across the parking lot. I was not a Scout but being prepared is always a good idea, especially when one is behind enemy lines.

The whole operation was a germophobe's wet dream - mooks running around spritzing every surface, plexiglass barriers all over the place, every last man child and compliant Karen with their masks snugged down over their fat faces, it was disgusting. WTF happened to our country? Did we turn Japanese at some point? That's why you get to keep the pen you use to mark your ballot - mustn't touch anything any other human has touched. What bullshit. 

In any case, I fed my ballot into the machine, I was voter number 6023, I assume that's so far, not just today, and we will see what kind of shenanigans the local commies pull next.

In summary, I fulfilled the duties of the ballot box, on to the next box, right?

No one said it better.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Just another day...

... and I am thankful for it.

Today I was working on a product that is a collaboration between me and a guy who lives down east. He makes and sells wooden kazoos and does pretty well at it. We were riffing on different shapes and since he was taking his son to a nearby crypto-zoological site I suggested making them in the shape of a foot. A big foot. That led to a discussion of the practical production issues, marketing, presentation and product roll out. His wife is making nice carrying cases for them, and in the course of two days of design and milling we have managed to produce enough pieces parts for 40 big foot kazoos, or as they are known, Big Foot Calls!

That one is made from quarter sawn white oak and what can I say, it works like a charm. Next up - stringed instruments - guitars and ukuleles. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Can it get any worse? Of course it can!


The God Emperor has exposed so many horrible things during his Presidency. The crimes of the main stream media who are the enemies of the people. The senility of Nancy Pelosi. The corruption of the Biden crime family.

But the most hideous exposure is just too much for the mind to bear.

God save us from 2020!

Jeffrey Tobin brings his shoes and glasses to Zoom

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Mum's The Word

The local Gardens deprived me of my Mass Chrysanthemum fix this fall, so I dug up my pictures from years past. Here's a couple:

I went back today, and it was more like:

Nice fall weather, sunlight, breeze . . . and more than half the people there were wearing masks. Sigh.

A rabbi, priest, and minister walk in a bar

A Murderer walks into a Press Conference......

They had a protest in front of the Cobble Hill Nursing Home where they protested the Murderer Cuomo's policy of sending Kung Flu positive patients to nursing homes to infect and kill vulnerable people. They put 6500 copies of his bullshit book in a coffin to symbolize all that died. Instead of using the hospital ship or the multi million dollar fiasco of a hospital set up in the Javits Center or the Cruise line terminal he sent these sick people to where they could do the most damage.

No accountability. No oversight by legislature. Very few questions from the enemy of the people media.

He is going to skate.

I just hope that these poor people who had parents die because of Cuomo's arrogance and criminality didn't pay for those books.

A President walks into a church......

The God Emperor of the Cherry Blossom Throne paid tribute to a power greater than himself by attending church in Las Vegas today He didn't wear a mask. He sat next to his aides. He threw money into the basket. Normal. The way most of America used to do.

Before the Kung Flu.

Democratic dictators in places like California, New York and Pennsylvania continue to defy the Constitution and prohibit people going to church. Getting married with their full family attending. Having a funeral with more than 10 people. 

Where are our religious leaders? Where are our bishops and Popes and Preachers standing up to Caesar as he places unbearable burdens on the believers? Why is ok to go to a Casino and not Church? Why is ok to go to Costco and not Church? Why does a racial arsonist like John Lewis or a murdering abortion lover like Ruth Bader Ginsberg can lie in state as thousands go to her funeral when you can't go to the wakes or funerals of your aunt or uncle?

When will the people stand up and say no more!



Saturday, October 17, 2020

Busy day

I started sawing some redbud logs a guy delivered to my place. One cut and it was obvious the next step was to sharpen my chainsaw. So I did. Then I cooked and consumed lunch. Then I finished sawing the logs. After seeing how beautiful the wood is I figured I would saw some boards out of the larger pieces. Flat sawn redbud boards are not something you see in the commercial lumber business, ever. So I made a couple of cuts and next thing you know the bandsaw started making funny noises. Hmm, that's not good. I check all the obvious sources of trouble - the blade was in place, the guides were still in good shape, the tires still had tread, yet nothing was working. The motor turned on, it spun, but all it did was make squeaky sounds and the blade did not move.

So I pulled the cover off the pulleys on the back of the machine, there was no obvious problem, so I pulled off the belts. Still nothing. First I dug all my Allen wrenches out and found one that fit the setscrews in the pulley then I loosened them. Then I set about pulling the drive pulley off the motor shaft. Man, was it stuck on there. Broke out my cat's paw crowbar and started whanging on it - what do you know - it budged. Bit by bit I got it moving, then by and by it was off. So then I noticed that there was no key in the keyway - what? Was there ever one in there? If so, where did it go? Well, I will set that mystery aside for now, and start looking for key stock - I know I have a piece left over from previous machine repair, now which dust-filled bowl did I leave it in. Oh, there it is, right there with a bunch of other tools and set screws. But, since this key stock was manufactured in China I had to grind it down to the correct dimensions. The stationary belt sander is a good tool for that job, but yesterday I noticed it needed a new belt. So I took the old one off, put on a new one, adjusted the rollers to get the belt to track correctly. Then I started sanding the stock. Knowing that it was grow very hot very quickly I was wearing gloves. I would sand a side, test it for fit, sand, fit, rinse, repeat. At one point the key got away from my gloved hands and the belt sander shot it into a pile of dusty wood leaning against the wall. Well that's another problem right there. That is the only key stock I have, so I have to find it. 

Started moving chunks of wood, with great difficulty and much sneezing, and after a half hour of diligent searching I was able, with the help of a long magnet, to locate and retrieve the key stock and resume sanding. A couple more backs and forths I got it done. The pulley didn't want to go back on the motor shaft and I noticed there was a ridge that had been scored around it. Hmm - I still don't know whether there was ever a key in there, but the scoring was created by the set screw rubbing against the spinning shaft. I grabbed the Nicholson flat bastard file I had used this morning to sharpen the chainsaw, turned on the bandsaw, held the file against the shaft as it was spinning and pretty as you please the scoring was gone, the shaft was a fraction of a thousandth of an inch smaller in diameter and the pulley went on like it was made for it. 

Put the belts back on, put the cover back on, bolted it all back together and tested it. What do you know - it works. Sadly by the time my work was done it was dark and time for a run. So my dog and I ran.

She really does not like having her picture taken.

Yesterday I started watching "O Brother Where Art Thou?" again, I really like it. Beautiful movie, great music, and the latter led to me watching a series by David Holt entitled "The State of Music". There are a lot of interesting performers in that series, good singers, good players, good collectors of old music.

One singer in particular caught my attention, her name is Lena Mae Perry, and I can't find a copy of the song she sang on the teevee show, but this will do for this evening:

She has a powerful voice, but this recording could be better.

Thursday, October 15, 2020


We had an interesting moonrise this morning. I walked out and it caught my eye - the faintest sliver of a moon between two trees:

I went inside, got my camera, took this picture, took the camera back inside, came back out and just that quickly the sun had gotten bright enough that the moon was no longer visible. Very transitory.

I was told there would be no Dylan


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green rage; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How the same mouth sucks a Weinstein for a part

Small Business that didn't quite cut it


During the last pandemic various face coverings were devised to stop the transmission of influenza which had killed so many Americans. Mainly made of cloth many entrepreneurs tried to jump on the band wagon to profit off the needs of their fellow citizens. Some tried to even make them fashionable such as these cone like protuberances designed by the fashion maven Lane Bryant. Unfortunately they were a dismal failure as they were unwieldy and unattractive.

Still he found an alternative use and made a pretty penny in the fashion game until they too went out of style.

So Mr Bryant returned to his love of chubby girls and started a fashion line that catered to him and he was a smashing success. 

(Small Businesses That Didn't Quite Cut It by Doris Kearns Goodwin)

The Broken Scarlet Sky

 I decided to start from the place where most things start. At the beginning. At least the beginning of Meyer's visit to Boston. He was staying at the Boston Ritz Carlton across from Boston Common.

I walked into the main lobby and went up to the reception desk, A beautiful young woman of about thirty looked up with an smile that she must of given everyone that entered the hotel. I gave her half of my smile. The one that charmed women from coast to coast. I didn't give her 100 Watts. Then she would have started to disrobe.

"Hello and welcome to the Ritz Carlton at the Boston Common. How might I help you? Are you checking in?"

"No not today. I would like to speak to the head of security. I thought it was Mike Callahan? Is he still the man?"

"Yes he is sir. I will call him. If you have a seat in the Lobby he will be with you shortly."

I walked over and sat down in one of the overstuffed chairs in the lobby. A few minutes later a tall Irishman with red hair that had gone grey walked into to the lobby. He limped from a wound he had from a shoot out with the Winter Hill mob. I knew him for years. Ever sine he came up with Marty Qurik. 

"Spenser. What do you want." 

"Why would I want anything Mike?"

"You always want something when you come by so lets cut the crap and tell me what it is before I run your ass out of my hotel."

"Easy does it sir. I just want to know about a guest of yours that went missing a couple of weeks ago. He was a professor. A older gent. Name of Meyer. Ludwig Meyer."

"Not much to tell. He checked in. Called for room service. Left for his conference and never came back. We tried reaching out to his contacts but got now reply. After a week we needed the room so we boxed up his belongings and turned the room over. I notified BPD but they didn't seem very interested so that's where we stand. That's exactly what I told his friend."

"His friend? Let me guess. Older gent who looks like he was the first runner up in a George Hamilton bake off?"

"Yeah that's him. From Florida. He came by a couple of days ago. I refereed him to Belson."

"Thanks Mike. I owe you one." 

"One. That's about the tenth one you owe me.Do me a favor and make yourself scarce unless you are spending money in the bar. Say hello to Susan for me."

That's me. Spreading joy wherever I go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I heard this on the radio this afternoon

It seemed somehow relevant. I also started turning a white oak burl I collected earlier this year. With burls, especially branch cap burls, you just never know what's inside. I bored a hole in the big end with great difficulty as it was dry white oak end grain, but I got that done, mounted the blank on the lathe and it looked good:

My goal was to turn a foot on the small end so that I could grip it with the four jaw chuck and hollow out the inside. As I started cutting through the green wood I hit more of the dry branch stub. Then the end cap flew off altogether, leaving a the weathered and cracked branch end with very little fresh growth around the outside:

Which is a shame, as the grain in the callus wood was swirly - it had a nice Starry Night thing going on:

So it goes. Maybe I will give it to the guy from whom I obtained the burls and he can use it as a paper weight - lord knows it weighs a ton.

Trooper York's Word's of the Day: Fecund vs. Fecal


  1. producing or capable of producing an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertile.

  1. relating to or resembling feces.
    "discharge of fecal matter"

When you think you are the Duke but you are actually Hank Worden.

While the handfasting was going on I was filming it with my phone. I happen to have a phone case with a painting of the last scene of the Searchers where the Duke stands in the doorway of the house holding onto his arm.

As soon as the ceremony is over this dude rushes up to me to tell me he teaches film at a college and that he saw my phone case. He tells me that he always teaches the Searchers and that surprisingly his students actually pay attention to it and enjoy it unlike some of the other famous films he teaches. He then askes me if I know the significance of the pose and of course I told him it was a homage to Harry Carey who was a mentor to the young John Ford. He was a little nonplussed that I knew but we had a nice discussion about film so there was that.

The other thing that happened was that there were two dogs at the wedding. One was the overweight bulldog owned by the bride who wandered around and followed me all the time because he thought I might be dropping some food. I guess he figured that us fat fucks had to stick together.

The other dog was a rambunctious puppy who was running around all over the place. Everybody was trying to pet it or play with it but he was dashing around non stop until he was exhausted. Of course at the end of the night he comes over at sits at my feet. Actually on my feet and under my chair to go to sleep. You see animals love me. They always come over to hang out with me. I tell my wife that it is my calm spirit. You see I am saintly. Like St. Francis of Assisi. I'm a freaking saint I tell you.

I was just lucky that Winston didn't decide to sit on my feet.

Of course I suggested that we set up a Wicker Man.....

But I was overruled.

Let's tie the knot?

Sorry that I have not been around much but I have been kind of busy. We had a wedding this weekend. Actually Lisa did as she officiated at her first ceremony.

Her friend Tara wanted to have a handfasting ceremony which is an ancient pagan festival that Tara and her fiance wanted to have instead of a normal wedding ceremony. So Lisa signed up with a website on the computer so she could become an ordained minister. I think it is the same one that Jim Jones and Pope Francis got their credentials from so it is all legit. 

It was a shit pot full of work.

We went over there on Friday night to prepare for the Saturday wedding. Lisa and another friend put up the arch that they would get married under. They had to put each individual rose into the frame and it was a lot of work. It look like this after it was finished:

Prior to that we had to research the ceremony and create it from scratch. We printed it out in large type and pasted it into a book so Lisa could read it during the ceremony. It all went off without a hitch but it was a lot of work.

Everyone who came enjoyed it immensely. Even very conservative religious types thought it was a wonderful ceremony and did not have a problem with it so it was all worthwhile to help out a friend like that.

The reception afterward was fun as well. The thing was most of the people who were there were bar people as the bride was a bartender and invited several bar patrons and fellow workers so they all knew how to party. We left early because we can't party anymore because we are old and sick. Still it was a great shin dig.

So I hope to get back to posting more soon.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Friday the 13th fell on Tuesday this month

 That is a paraphrase of an old Pogo comic strip. My father liked Pogo, and for a while I collected books of Pogo comic strips but I think they have mostly gone by the board by now. Letting go of the things of my youth, as it were. But I thought of that line today when I checked the date. October is nearly halfway through - where does the time go, eh?

I was rooting around on the blog here while trying to write this post and I noticed that there are a number of drafts just hanging out in the draft folder. The oldest one was written by Pastafarian in 2013. I think it is safe to say he won't be posting that or his other draft any time soon. There is another one from that same year by Freeman Hunt, a couple more by Lem, and hey - there's a Darcy draft - hey Darcy! I hope you got an answer to the question you asked in that draft.

There's one by Michael Haz, one by DBQ wherein she details her family's travels when she was young, a CL draft - dude! Then there are a big ol' mess of Trooper York drafts - I think he got distracted on the way to hitting the "Publish" button. 

Anyway, I have been getting a bit of work done, so that's a good thing. 

My purple sweet potato plants are flowering - I will soon know if there are pertaters growin' in the planter - I sure hope there are.

We had a sunset today - well, you know, we get one every day, but we don't always get to see them:

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Harp Hill, part 2

Back in the '70s coworker moved into the tenant house of a farm on Harp Hill. It was a huge house, a couple thousand square feet, fireplace in the basement, the driveway was over a mile long, and as was the case with most of the places on that hill the views were spectacular. 

The man who owned the property lived in the main house farther up the hill. We will call him Tom for purposes of this post. Tom's father was a prominent, successful and need I add, rich lawyer in Rockville, which is the county seat of Montgomery county Maryland, which borders DC and is home to many rich politicians. When Tom reached the age of 21 his father gave him one million dollars with the instructions "Don't waste it." That was in the early 1960s, back when a million dollars was real money.

Tom, being not unwise, bought 180 acres in one of the most beautiful valleys in Maryland, and proceeded to improve the property. He restored the early 1800s farm house, started building fences and corrals, stock pens, barns, sheds, all the things a gentleman farmer needs to raise a herd of show cattle. The first work I did there was building a fence along the crest of the hill on Tom's property. It was tough work, but there you go. We used a Farmall tractor with an auger attachment to bore the holes in the rocky soil then tipped large black locust fenceposts into the holes, back-filled the space with dirt, tamped it down and that was that. String some barbed wire and you are good to go.

Tom proceeded to buy a prize bull for $6,000, a hefty sum in the day, and he also bought about 30 cows. He was going to be a cattle baron, I'll tell you what. One cold spring day I was hired to help gather the cows into a corral - turns out the herd had been infected with brucellosis and after being quarantined and treated with antibiotics for a year it was now time for the county farm agent to draw blood from each and every cow to see if they were now clear of the disease.

I may be a country boy but I know my limits. How is one man on foot supposed to round up 30 head and get them to go where they need to be? This is where Richard Nixon comes into our story. Tom's father was well connected, as I mentioned, and at some point he had gotten a puppy that was the grand-puppy of Nixon's dog King Timahoe pictured here:

Tom named the young dog Duffy, and he was every bit as handsome and intelligent as Ol' King. My boss told me "Take Duffy up into the field, tell him to "Get 'em" and he will know just what to do. Damned if he didn't, too. He ran around those cattle in the pasture, moving them this way and that until they lined up and marched right through the open corral gate. Damn! Double damn. That dog was brilliant. Fast. Efficient, and smooth. 

Eventually the county agent and his sidekick showed up. The plan was to encourage each cow to walk down a narrow fenced in area into a cattle chute, where, one by one they would be held while they had their blood drawn. It had been raining and snowing a bit, and it was breezy. The junior agent was just as proud as he could be of his new Stetson. I was wearing an old cowboy hat I had bought in Milpitas when I first moved to California. I had paid ten bucks for my hat. The junior G-man had paid many times that amount for his fancy city-slicker hat, and was quick to point out that "It's a Stetson!" Yeah, we get it. Due to the weather he had put a nice plastic rain cover on his hat. Fancy thing - with elastic around the edge to snug it down to the brim of the Stetson. No rain was going to besmirch his pride and joy, no way, no how!

I don't know if you have ever worked with cattle, but when they get excited, and cows, being prey animals, are always on edge, they react. They are quick to sense a change in their situation. So we start marching them through the narrow way and they knew something was up. When the first one hit the chute, with the bars and gates, well, she cut loose with everything she had been holding in all morning. Can't say as I blame her. We get the blood draw done, then turn her loose back into the pasture. Next! 

By now you can kind of see where this is going. The ground is soggy, no longer frozen from the winter, rain and snow are falling lightly, the ground is getting slick and covered with everything the cows can expel, and we are working away, one cow after another, when don't you know it - a stiff breeze comes up out of the south and blows the hat clean off Junior's head.

Now if you have studied physics, or the Talmud, you know that bread always falls butter side down. That is an immutable law of the universe. If it lands butter side up that is nothing more than proof that the bread was buttered on the wrong side. Given that philosophical and theological truth you know how that Stetson landed. Rain cover up, nice soft cloth side down. Down in the muck and mire. But because the cows knew that Junior didn't like them the one in the chute acted on behalf of the whole herd and backed up, trampling that hat into the mess, just to drive home the point. Oh my did Junior get irate. He pushed that cow into the chute and with great anger retrieved his hat. Now, put yourself in his place, what would you do? How can you save face, save your hat, assuage your hurt pride? Easy, do what he did - pick up the hat, knock it back into shape, get most of the manure out of it, then slap it on your head. Go on with your life, act as though nothing has happened. He was not going to allow a hatful of dung to dampen his day or his hairdo

And that's just another story of Harp Hill. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Fall's Here

          De ramis cadunt folia,              The leaves fall from the branches,
          nam viror totus periit,              The green world fades to brown. 
          iam calor liquit omnia               The warmth of summer steals away
               et abiit;                                      and goes to ground.
          nam signa coeli ultima              The sun seeks out the farthest signs 
               sol petiit.                                    upon his round.

             --Anon. ca 1200 AD                                    --Transl. Mumpsimus 2020 AD

"farthest signs" = the winter signs of the Zodiac.

This is the first stanza of a poem which is actually about winter; but the lines seem perfect for fall. You can see the whole poem, with Helen Waddell's translation, here.



For the curious, I redirect you here

My new roost will be east of the mighty Mississippi, and so I changed the call letters from KLEM FM to WLEM FM. Deborah originally invented that handle, but she seems to have abandoned them. So I'm going to squat on them. She can have them back if she files a claim with me. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Harp Hill, part 1

 There is much I can write about Harp Hill, but I will begin my story where I left off - with cycling. There are some steep hills in Frederick county, and after Jimmuh Cottah was president I had a goal of exceeding his idiotic double nickel speed limit on my bicycle. Yep, silly goal, but you go with what you have. 

Some hills, like the one on Highland School road allowed me to reach 45 mph, no problem. Another thing that reduced problems was having a cyclometer that recorded the fastest speed I reached so I didn't have to look at the readout while descending like a bat out of hell. That's a thing so good even Martha Stewart would approve. My friend Prudence lived in the old Highland school, but that's a story for another day.

I took this picture of the peloton of professional riders climbing Harp Hill in the Tour de Trump back in the late '80s. Those guys could climb a grade that steep with their racing bikes, which use a freewheel cluster called a "corncob". That means the number of teeth on the gears on the back wheel are something like 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and maybe, for the weaklings, an 18 is thrown in. They just mashed on the pedals and zoomed over the top like it was nothing.

According to the bike racing types Harp Hill has an average grade of 11.2% and is a category 3 climb. Hmm, seemed steeper than that to me. Guess it's a good thing I never rode the tough climbs in the Alps, eh? I thought I had a picture of me climbing that hill but I can't find it. Just imagine me on a bike, riding just like that professional rider, only not going as fast. Also, the gearing on my bike, rather than being 4:1 or 3:1, was in fact, 1:1 when I was in my lowest gear. I had a 28 tooth front sprocket driving a 28 tooth rear sprocket, and even at that, it was a struggle for me to make it up that incline.

But the beauty of making that climb, the payoff, as it were, was the descent. Now at the top of Harp Hill there were a couple of turns and a couple of driveways, so I had to slow down and pay attention. But once beyond those hazards it was an all-out, no brakes falling-off-the-earth descent. The fastest speed I ever recorded on my handy-dandy cyclometer was 54.6 mph. So freakin' close. I tried a number of times to break 55 but never made it. It's a story of effort, of getting oh-so-close to the payoff, and falling just short. 

Thus ends part one of my adventures on Harp Hill, with a shout out to Martha. Stay tuned for when I tell of the time I worked with her pals from the previous post. Yep, it's true, I was a cowboy. On Harp Hill.

Sendin' this out to my new senator Californicator!

Ps. As I was typing this post my dog walked over and put her paw on my leg. I checked the time. It was 9 PM on the dot. I am getting a bit nervous here...

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Whose that girl?

She is a famous homemaker and hostess who never ate a twinkie. A great friend of Snoop Dog she hangs in the Hamptons after getting out of the joint.

Here she is with her friend Joy Behar.

Whose that girl?