Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year In Review

Why look back?

I don't know. I'm just a looking back kind of guy. It goes with the territory when everything you do has an anniversary. I'm overly sentimental.

What all happened here, without me doing any research, just going by memory?

The highlight of the year -- one of the biggies -- was the fact that I was on hiatus for two or maybe close to three months. It was around March or April that it started. And it continued until I came off it. In the hiatus, the memorable one-dimensional character of Garrett Al was created. Named so to make him sound like Geritol. Look him up in the archives. What a character! Garrett Al, as I recall, made some sort of "play" for me, my affections, but was rebuffed and taken away by police.

There were other highlights. Two biggies come to mind. 1) The whole Grange Brotherhood (and Sisterhood) affair. This involved me taking on a nefarious rural association who was luring young men to their deaths, being kicked to death by assassin horses. There was a Peruvian connection, a queen. It was very exciting. I raced against the clock to solve the whole thing, finally doing something (I don't recall) to neutralize, then counteract the horses. It was exciting, but everyday was a struggle for survival.

The other biggie would be: 2) My tenure as a self help, self esteem, lifestyle sciences coach. For a while there I reigned supreme among the positive-thinking glitterati. I was putting it forth day by day, incredibly helpful themes and teachings, to prop up everyone's self esteem and make them feel better. I held forth with teachings that gave people the confidence to achieve. I called my efforts the "Drive for Pride," and it was very helpful to a lot of souls both forlorn and self-estranged.

I'm thinking back to what ended it. I had a teaching one day on having a "Spine of Steel" (or something). And someone took it hyper literally and set forth a rebuttal against me, a piece of criticism that sent me over the edge. I believe her argument was that spines are not actually made of steel and that no one should say they are. I tried to make the point -- I think I did -- that it was a figure of speech, but the damage was already done. My whole self esteem empire crumbled before me. I had no will -- none -- to go on after that criticism.

So the whole "Drive for Pride" was both a high point and a low point. It carried the seeds of its own destruction in it, unknown to me at the time. I really thought it might go on forever and that I would end up making a lot of money on it. But as it was, I didn't make a dime.

Those are the highlights. But there was lots of other things, miscellaneous things that should be mentioned, but with the restrictions of time, I can only say a couple things. Wasn't it this year that I had Old Faithful, the geyser, in my back yard? It seems like it was. Then they took it away.

And it seems like it was this year that I had the whole reverie involving Skidrow and fly by night carpet stores. In this year I know I definitely drove by a crummy carpet store and thought about its prospects. And, this is a true story, before the year was out they were closed, and apparently had gone on to another town to ply their evil trade.

I end the year with a hope ... a hope for a bright and engaging tomorrow ... May I be happy in the future, as happy as I can be, as happy as my imagination will allow me to be, until that eventual day when I have grayed up, my organs have declined and failed, and I finally pass away. That will be a terribly sad day. But when it gets here, I will have a lot of accomplishments to look back on and smile about. This year was one in a long series of such years that will eventually cause me to smile, when eventually I do fail and die. That day will come for me, I believe, just as it has come for countless others who even now are dead.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Days Are Stacking Up Everywhere

We're getting to the end of the year. It's almost 365 ex-days we've got stacked up everywhere. And with age, I'm getting quite a collection. I'm still tripping over a few months from earlier in the decade! And there's a few days and incidents from the '90s that still pop up now and then!

That's the way my life goes. I'll have a simple enough collection, something I'm passionate about, that seeks completion, then it becomes a behemoth and I think I should pare it back (if only I could), so I stack it up somewhere, get plastic totes, then implement a complicated inventory system to keep the totes straight. Next thing, I have a system of warehouses, storage facilities, safety deposit boxes, electric eyes for security, and I have to show two forms of ID and a thumbprint just to see it. I have to convince the guards I'm really me.

Even time is like that. I have plans for each day, then if I don't get around to it, my plans become backlogged, stoved up, itching either for release back into the wild or a quick disposal of their case. Some things you just have to part with. "If you really love it, you have to let it go." But I can't let you go because I love you too much. My thought processes say to me, How did I ever let prehistoric times go? Because fortunately I wasn't alive all these millions of years.

We need a self help group for "People Who Love Time Too Much."

There's a definite thought in there somewhere. Which is why worry about the times you've had when you don't worry about the times you didn't have? And someday you're not going to worry about the times you'll never see, so why let the visible ones get you down?

We've got another Happy New Year coming, right around the corner, and all the days of this present year still with us in memory. Plus the plans that were never realized, that now we need to let go, if only we can. I'd love to just forgive myself for not getting it done.

Maybe I'll do that. Just forgive myself for this and that. Then I'll have a whole massive collection of memories of forgivenesses. All catalogued and neatly arranged, until they start stacking up, falling against each other, and needing their own warehouse.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bush's Baked Beans -- Some Big Meat!

I loved seeing this. Look at that big piece of meat in the foreground. You know how they put a little piece of meat in baked beans and pork 'n' beans? That big piece of meat was in a can of Bush's Baked Beans that we had for lunch today. And it looks like, in the back there, there's another little piece of meat, which I hadn't noticed.

You know you've got a huge chunk of meat when you have to go get your camera to document it! I couldn't believe it. It was delicious.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The World's Tiniest Box Of Chocolates

A box of chocolates, to be a true box of chocolateS, would have to have more than one chocolate. But someone gave me a box of chocolates that only had two chocolates, making it the world's tiniest box of chocolates.

That's right -- two pieces.

It's an actual little box, a base, a lid, a tiny holder for the chocolates inside, and the two pieces of candy cradled in there, just waiting for three seconds to pass until it's an ex-box of chocolates.

Actually I tried to savor them as much as I could, because, face it, it's easy to see the end from the beginning when there's only two to start with! I ate one, then had to decide whether I was an optimist or pessimist, who thought the box was already half empty or still half full. I decided it was half empty, then completely empty, when I went for the other piece.

What is this box of chocolates called? "Whitman's Reserve," subtitled in an exquisite script font, "A Premium mini collection." A mini collection? Can two be a collection? I would've liked to put that over on the guys when I was a kid. "You guys want to come see my baseball card collection? It's great. I've got two cards." It's a mini collection. Mini collection, my eye. You better hope you have the bubble gum, because all you've got is two stinking cards!

But the "Whitman's Reserve" is a nice little box of chocolates. The box is a very nicely crafted box. It seems like a heck of a lot of work and packaging for two pieces of candy. But of course they make money by making it look classy.

I can't remember what they tasted like, but there was a round white coated one with little brown stripes and a square brown piece. The little holder inside, kind of like a gold lined casket, shows the shapes of the late candy bodies.

Now the candy's gone, but I still have this little box to deal with.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dogs Don't Pee On Tires Like They Used To

It's such a snowy day, and it's still coming down. Supposed to all day. So, whoever out there is still "dreaming of a White Christmas," please wake up and look around!

Snow and vast quantities of it is very lovely. I like all the drifts. It piles up on the air conditioner like a conehead. But it plays havoc with taking the dog out. I have to carry her for certain stretches, till at least we get to the road.

A little bit ago I took the snow blower and made a good enough path to get the car out of the garage if needed. And then thought it was such a nice wide clear path, it'd be good to release the hound and have her take a potty break. She immediately peed, since it was nice, in her opinion and mine, to see bare ground, even if it's just the driveway.

It made me start thinking how seldom you see dogs pee on tires these days. That's one of the forgotten truths of long ago, that dogs peed on tires all the time. Everywhere you'd look, say 40 years ago, there'd be a dog with his leg arched up, peeing on a tire. But now you don't see if. I'll bet I haven't seen it for 20 years!

So what's the difference? Well, dogs used to be running loose all the time. There wasn't anyone attending them or holding them on a leash. And obviously one of the best places to pee is on a tire. I don't know why, unless it's that tires are in motion quite a bit, and are bringing little bits of "far away" home with them. If they go through a park, they're likely to hit patches here and there where other dogs have walked, or even peed. So the dog notices the scent and gravitates toward it.

Plus, back then, when they were doing it all the time, it just built on itself, because before one dog gets there, a hundred have already been there. Now, though, with years of no peeing on tires, and all the tires being new since 40 years ago, the dogs wouldn't know what to do if they were turned loose. Because they have all these other places ready to go.

Like I said, it's a snowy day. Remember, don't eat yellow snow.

UPDATED: I'm looking at my Amazon ad. It's for a UGODOG Indoor Dog Potty, only $49.95. I never heard of that, but I've often thought, why not bring some of the outside inside around November? Arrange a big place in your basement and the dog would have a private spot to go in the winter. But this indoor dog potty looks good too. It looks about 4 or 5 feet big, depending on how big the dog is. Put a tire on it and he'd have all kinds of fun!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's A Snowy Christmas Eve

I was looking out the back door. The snow drifts are big over by the garage. Then a little farther, to the right, the well has snow making some interesting shapes all over it.

It's dark out there. We used to get a lot of cousins over for Christmas Eve. But that's when there was a lot more family. And Grandpa was alive, etc.

The only thing that might turn up tonight is the Abominable Snowman. Looking for a dentist. I like that Island of Misfit Toys cartoon.

I have a Christmas 1959 tape that has Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, parents, cousins, and me on it. It was recorded 50 years ago tonight, in fact. Since we always had Christmas Eve at Grandma's place. I was just listening to it. One of my cousins dominates, yelling about what he got, "a dinosaur set," then "two pair of mittens!"

It's interesting to hear Grandpa's voice, even as indistinct as it is among most of the noise. This recording from 1959 is probably the only sound recording of his voice.

What a great night. Snow. Memories. Some Christmas treats. A piece of chocolate. Red pop.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

White Christmas -- The Whole Movie!

I watched a whole movie tonight, in one sitting, which is almost unheard of. It was "White Christmas," with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.

I'm probably the only person who hasn't seen this movie before. I'd only seen a couple minutes of it. All this time! And we even had it on VHS for years. But movies and me don't always mix.

It showed up today on DVD, and it being the day before Christmas Eve and all, I decided to sit there while it was playing, and pretty soon two hours had passed and it was over. So that's how it happened.

It's a very nice movie. I only have one complaint. The whole time Rosemary Clooney was mad at Bing Crosby sucked. And I thought it was especially bad that he never learned why she was so mad. Come on. Someone could've said, "Hey, why are you so mad? Let's work this out." But it was an intrinsic part of the plot, I guess, although it seems like it could've been worked out somehow.

Anyway, other than that, I loved it. Vera Ellen must've been a big time dancer. She had very muscular legs. And the singing was very good too for everyone.

It looked great on a big screen TV. The widescreen thing was just right to fill out the TV, no black bars at the top and bottom.

P.S. So George Chakiris was in the movie. From "West Side Story." I recognized him in one place and was thinking it had to be him.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Money Falling From The Sky

My brother and I used to tear the leaves off a big tree/shrub thing that bordered our lawn and pretend they were money. I don't know if we killed the thing by tearing off so many leaves, but we were very rich for a while.

There's money everywhere, if you're ready to take it. Such as being a snow removal guy. It's a cloudy, terribly overcast day, with lots of snow forecast. The snow removal guy is probably at home oiling his machines. Rubbing his hands together with glee. Because those clouds are his piggy bank. It's going to be his Christmas bonus falling from the sky. Like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine.

For the rest of us, it's a thing of dread. There are times when I love extremes in the weather and even lots of snow. But usually it's UCK! I don't want to see it. For the rest of us, we might get stuck and need to be pulled out. There's money in it for that guy too. Or a hundred different things. I heard it was going to snow a bunch so I went and bought a bunch of groceries. So it's money for the grocery store too.

You want to be ready ... in case you have to stay in the house for a month. But of course you never do, because they have it plowed out way before that.

It'd be weird to be one of those guys, a hermit, out in a cabin in the woods, and have 20 inches of snow. There you'd sit, your cabin surrounded by drifts, your food cooking in a big stew pot, with your feet propped up on a hassock, reading a book. Big wool socks. Nowhere to go. Just sit there with some stew, and maybe a piece of homemade moose jerky for a snack.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When Teen Stars Marry -- Sorry Girls!

I heard that one of the Jonas Brothers got married, Kevin. I don't really know the Jonas Brothers' names all that well, but I know there's one named Nick. Maybe Joe. Is there a Joe?

It was definitely Kevin who got married. I saw it this morning and just looked it up on the internet to remind myself what his name was.

So, sorry girls. Kevin is now taken. Although, maybe it will be like it is with other big stars, he'll be available again one of these days. Maybe not. Maybe he'll love his wife and she'll love him and they'll be able to settle down as an old couple.

I'm old, so I remember some of the stories back in olden days when teen stars got married. I'm actually old enough to remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan the first time. The first time I ever heard the Beatles' names, it was announced that one of them was married. There was Paul, George, and Ringo. Then when they identified John, with his name on the screen, it said, "Sorry girls, he's married."

That's the first time I ever heard of John Lennon. And the first thing I learned about him was he was married! So it might've been trauma to the girls who knew him before that. Out of circulation. Paul was the last of the Beatles to get married, so Everygirl had a shot at him for quite a while.

The Monkees -- it seems like Davy kept it a secret that he was married for a couple years. I'm pretty sure they have all been married and divorced, and maybe more than once. I remember hearing at the height of their popularity that Peter had been married before he became part of the group. And while the group was going, Mike was the only one married. Sorry girls!

I'm not a girl, so I never considered myself in the market for one of these fab performers. And really, I wouldn't want to be married to them anyway. They're too much on the go, at least they were. And you barely expect it to last. If some fabulous Hollywood actress wanted to marry me -- and I am quite a catch -- I'd have to say no. I don't like that whole scene. Unless it's true love, and I doubt it would be.

Elvis -- he didn't get married for quite a while. He hit big fame in '56 and wasn't married till '67 or '68, in there somewhere.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

There's Something About Random Christmas Music

At my neighborhood Christmas party I had a CD of random Christmas MP3s from some years ago. I wasn't too sure who the artists were, but it sure sounded great.

In fact, I'm listening to it now. In working with the MP3 tags since the party, I notice some of the artists include 101 Strings and Andre Kostelanetz and Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians and some just called Various. There's some really nice things there, seemingly made better by having no idea who they are.

When I have a CD by a particular artist, I'm thinking of its quality in terms of that person or group. And you can picture the particular artist in your mind's eye. But when it's Whoever and the Whatever Orchestra, it seems that it's just pure pleasure, no prior conceptions lurking about.

Maybe I need more random music in my life. I've always been so selective, but maybe the real joy is just letting it be unknown. Or fairly so.

The party went great. Everyone had some treats, some coffee, cider, eggnog, summer sausage, candy, Ritz crackers and cheese, etc. I had a table loaded down with goodies and kept putting out more. I ran out of summer sausage, but I think everyone basically got enough.

Then there was my random MP3s playing in the background, sounding like a million bucks.

I might carry that through to the rest of the year. Find some random rock, random country, and random everything!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Paw Is Cold

This poor cat probably gives a different message in the summer, such as, "I'm just licking my hand as a part of the normal grooming process that I and my fellow felines engage in."

But in the winter, the message has to be, "My paw is cold, my pads are feeling the extra discomfort that goes with the chilly temperatures out here, especially as I'm sitting in a land surrounded by nothing but snow."

My cats tend to be verbose.

My Big Christmas Party

I'm cleaning up the house, getting ready to host a (modest) Christmas party for some of the neighbors.

We try to stir up the sense of love and brotherhood in the neighborhood on this one special day.

Then the rest of the year, everyone can fend for themselves.

We're going to have cheese and crackers and all the fixin's. Maybe some candy, if I can find some on sale.

I figure I'll pop a Christmas CD in the CD player, lift an eggnog for a toast to a great day, and let it go at that.

Too bad I can't arrange for a few live animals to be tied out in the yard, besides the dog.

Nothing says Christmas like a cow, a donkey, an ox, or a sheep.

All of nature learned the true meaning of Christmas when they were all gathered at the manger.

I ought to look into starting my own menagerie, then rent out my animals when Christmas rolls around, all through December.

Except I'd have to feed and water and tend to their veterinarian needs all through the year.

I can imagine if you had a group of animals, they'd get used to what they were there for, and would perk up when November came.

Then by the time December rolled around, they would be just itching to stand by the little manger that I would also have had built for it.

I'd come around with a sugar cube for whichever animals like sugar cubes, and the other assorted rewards that are valuable to animals.

Good boy, Babe the ox. Good show, Clompers the horse. Way to low, Bossie the cow. How reverential, Peewee the sheep.

But until then, I'll have to check the phone book, and see if there are any Rent-a-Menageries that might come around and bless the guests.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Smashing Pumpkins -- Siamese Dream

Here's my first recommendation. Jeff Bezos and I finally worked out a contract. We were up all night.

We were deadlocked until five in the morning. Then he suggested we break the stalemate by arm-wrestling for it. Which I foolishly accepted. Because a combination of a couple of different factors came into play. One, I bumped my arm on a door the other day, hit it in the dark. And, two, I'd been lifting cups of coffee during our negotiations all the way from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., and my arm was tired.

We locked hands and Jeff had me down in about 15 minutes. So now I'm an affiliate -- a partner, I should say -- like it or not.

OK, there it is ... go ahead and buy a download of "Siamese Dream" by Smashing Pumpkins.

You know, that's quite a name for a group. A guy I know brought me over this year 10 pumpkins. I had them setting out on my step, hoping no kids would come along and smash them, and no one did. Then I found an orange out in the yard -- must have fallen out of a kid's lunchbox -- and I set the orange in among the pumpkins. It was like integration, except of course it was orange like the pumpkins. But it was smaller, like the runt of the litter.

Funny though, kids pass by here everyday, and no one stopped to smash one. And no one stole the orange.

And here's something equally funny. The squirrels only chewed a tiny piece of one of the pumpkins. That was it. But then after Fall, I threw the pumpkins over on the east side of the house, and the squirrels went crazy on them, chewing them down to the rind. Plus others disappeared whole! Like they took them up their tree, I don't know. Or maybe kids took them, but I doubt it.

Anyway, about this album -- the download by Smashing Pumpkins -- what do I know about it? Why am I recommending it? I've never actually heard it, except for about 30 seconds of the opening track. Do I have it myself? Yes, I do. I got it -- true story -- yesterday at Goodwill for a buck. Along with another Smashing Pumpkins CD, "MACHINA/The Machines of God." These to go along with my collection, including whatever that double set is called, "Melon Collie" and "Adore." So I have four CDs by them. I keep thinking I'm going to like them, but I haven't given them enough of a chance. It sounds a little more BAM-BAM than I like. But honestly I need to listen some more.

I looked up this particular album, "Siamese Dream," at All Music and it's reportedly a classic, a Five Star album. So you can't go wrong there! I definitely will listen to it. Most things that I end up liking I didn't like the first time through.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More On The Potential Grandma Partnership

I have an interesting business proposition on the table and I'm seriously considering it. We're in negotiations, let's say.

It came to my attention some time ago -- I believe it was this morning -- that is seeking a partnership with my blog.

Since then I've been weighing the pros and cons. I made two columns on a notepad and am weighing the good and bad points.

On the good side, of course both and I will make a ton of money, they from my traffic, I from the handsome commissions.

One day I had 13 visitors, and if I'm not mistaken (and I have no way of knowing), none of them was a repeat visitor.

On the bad side, among the cons, what assurances do I have that sells quality merchandise?

Maybe their books are cheap paperback knockoffs. Maybe their CDs are sound-alikes and not the original artists.

I need some assurances of quality, some kind of report on the standards they maintain, if any.

Other than those stumbling blocks, it just might happen. Like I said, we've had some hard-nosed negotiations, Jeff Bezos and myself.

He started out at a guaranteed 5% commission, I insisted on 20%, and we're working toward the middle.

I don't want to be a bloodsucker. On the other hand I don't think he should be either. Each one of us is going to have to give something.

Then when we meet in the middle -- let's say it actually happens -- it'll be of mutual benefit to both sides, and my blog.

But I have to say, if they come at me, their team of lawyers, with a bunch of papers with very fine print, I'm going to read every word.

Then I'll sign, if it happens, and only then. I've had this blog going for close to two years and I don't want to sink it with carelessness.

So stay tuned. Could this be the beginning of something big? An empire, perhaps? The marriage of and the Grandma Slump blog!

Two great powers, titans, coming together as one unstoppable force. The mega-bookstore of all time PLUS the mega-blog of all time. As one!

Grandma Slump May Partner With



The chips are falling where they may and the stars are coming into alignment. It definitely looks like it may happen at last, at long last.

Representatives of both parties -- Mega-Bookstore and Mega-Blog Grandma Slump -- have been in intense and serious negotiations for some time. Talks have broken down from time to time, but somehow they keep going back to the table. Finally, they kicked out the lawyers and just sat down at a round table, the principals, to hammer out a tentative agreement. Then the lawyers were called back in to take down the fine print.

Jeff Bezos said, "We're not saying it's a done deal yet, but if anything, we're closer to agreement now than we've ever been in the past. The Grandma Slump blog, if we do finally proceed together, will be a valuable partner, allowing us to sell more books in one day than we've sold in all the years of our history put together."

D.B. Kundalini, speaking for the Grandma Slump blog, gave high marks to the folks as well, saying, "We've looked at each other eye to eye. Yes, we knocked our heads together a few times, but it was just business, nothing personal. Amazon has a formidable negotiating team and I respect that. But we're looking out for our interests, of course, which they understand. And we hope that we'll be able to proceed in a joint venture soon, very very soon."

He went on to explain some of the stumbling points, saying he needs to examine some of's merchandise to see if it's up to industry standards. Like, are the books of the same quality that you would get in a bookstore, or are they some kind of cheap, paperback knockoffs? And the same for the music products. Are they the original artists or some kind of inferior sound alike groups? If those two "thorny issues" can be answered in a definitive way, Kundalini said, he thinks they might be on the fast track to resolving matters and proceeding.

If there are any changes to the Grandma Slump blog, they will be minor. An link here or there, perhaps some medium sized graphics, perhaps a column sized mini-store, perhaps some larger banner ads, giving a steady stream of blog visitors the opportunity to buy things without leaving the comfort of their own computer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Hostage Situation Ended Well

It was over with last night, actually, and wasn't allowed to drag on very long.

The guy didn't get out of jail, so subsequently they didn't have to shoot him. As you may recall, he was being given spiritual comfort by a minister, who had a spiritual lesson typed out on two pages stapled together.

Somehow when the minister was looking the other way, or perhaps praying, the inmate was silently working the staple off the corner of the papers. Next thing, allegedly, he had the minister by the throat and had the staple up to his exposed jugular vein.

That's when the threats commenced, and the demands, that he be released immediately and with haste. Naturally the authorities tried to talk him down, tried to diffuse the situation as well as they could. I believe they had his mother on a speakerphone.

The whole thing ended when the guy allowed a jailer to bring in a plate of sandwiches, because he was getting hungry. But what was unknown to the guy was that the jailer had a plate-sized electromagnet under a towel instead of sandwiches. Getting it close, the staple flew out of his hand and of course adhered (or clung) to the magnet.

That was all she wrote, as they say. The minister was freed, the guy was back in jail, at this point in some serious trouble. And all turned out to have been well that ended well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Twitter Mojo -- Perpetually Stagnant

Everything about my Twitter mojo seems to have gone stagnant.

My number is just stagnating in the same old range forever. Drat, drat, and double drat.

It's like wading in a stagnant pond. You'd think a guy could just accidentally be extremely popular, but no such luck.

If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd ----- however that goes. See I can't even think these days.

I want to creep ever upwards like everyone else. I have guy who posts stuff like "Every pebble of good deeds creates a world effect..."

So I'm running around all day doing good deeds. Then I sit back and read my karma meter and it's stuck on zero.

Ahhh! [waving my hand in despair], who cares?!

I Shop Locally

I hate to hear about people going out of town to buy their Christmas presents.

Myself, I shop locally. I stay right here in town and buy everything online from

A Hostage Situation At The County Jail


We have a hostage situation underway at the county jail.

Details are sketchy at this time.

What we have is this:

It appears that an inmate has taken a visitor hostage. His demand is that he be let out of the facility. He either has a staple up to the neck of the hostage or is pretending he does. A staple is very small and difficult to see on the jail security cameras.

Our assumption is that they will grant his wish, then take him back into custody as soon as he makes a break for it. Or shoot him.

Sheriff Richard Les Wonder is on TV right now, trying to calm an anxious public.

Monday, December 14, 2009

From A Mountain To A Molehill Of Snow

I've got a mountain of snow in my yard, thanks to the snow being removed in the driveway.

There it is ... and there it will stay, until it melts. Which I fully expect will happen before August.

I walk by it and think of how heavy it is. Just a shovelful of snow is heavy, think what a whole mountain about 10 feet high would weigh. I always thought it'd be fun to make a little cave and go in, but it'd kill you if it caved in.

But no matter how much it weighs now, eventually it will be no match for the heat of spring. Bit by bit it will go away, and the grass will be greening under it. Somehow. How it's able to exist under there without getting oxygen, I don't know. Unless it gets it from the snow.

Anyway, that's science. And science works whether I know anything about it or not.

It's a great thing to see it in the spring when it's just about zapped out. I like seeing that last little bit. No snow anywhere else, but there's still a last little bit from this mountain, the last to go. When it gets small enough I'm over there whacking it with a shovel to make it melt faster. And even that's hard.

But you go in, watch TV, take a shower, whatever ... and the next time you go out, it's about done for.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cold Case -- The Two Brothers

Here's an interesting entry for "Cold Case -- The Trivial Stuff."

I'm calling it "The Case of the Two Brothers." I'm sorry I don't have more details. The story was related to me a long time ago, and whether I ever wrote it down, I don't think I did.

But two brothers, the sons of the same father, were with their father in a particular business. It might have been hide tanning, making lard, or something to do with animal carcass processing.

The father dies and there's a conflict over the estate, which son gets control of the business. It seems like the details were all very nebulous as to the legal directives. But the short story is that one of the sons got the controlling interest and the other was left out.

I believe this story must have happened between 1910 and 1940, just going by a rough estimate based on my sketchy recall of the original telling.

Anyway, the two brothers never spoke to each other after that time. And when they died, neither one went to the other's funeral.

I can't remember where all this took place. All I can remember is that I met the son of one of the brothers, who also now is deceased. He's the one who told me.

So the mission for the "Cold Case" investigators is: To find out by discovery what the legal situation was at the time, what the papers said, what the files on the case were. And having done that, to determine what would have been the best settlement on the business. How could the two brothers each have a share, depending of course on the father's intent, which I don't believe we have established.

It's a sad story, especially that it severed their relationship, which, we would like to think, had been cordial up to that point. And the fact that neither one attended the other's funeral is very sad to think of.

I would be happy to share any other information I have on the case with qualified investigators. What I stated above is all the information I have on the case, except for the family's last name, which I'm withholding for privacy reasons.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cold Case -- The Trivial Stuff -- A Rationale

I've stumbled on to a new vocation, investigating the forgotten past and trying to bring justice in response to certain situations.

Some investigators examine cold case murders, robberies, the various infamous cases of the past, seeking for new and better insights.

I'm doing the same kind of thing, but the cases that interest me are the ones that could be called more trivial in nature.

For example, if I hear someone telling me that a relative broke the law 50-60 years ago, even if it was only a parking offense, that's one.

I've been working on a case about a Grandpa who drove his grandchildren in a city park, not on the road, but right through the park itself. A second link.

It allegedly happened around 50 years ago.

By checking city code books -- and relying on my omnipresent common sense -- I'm starting to put together a list of laws broken by the man.

And this -- shameful -- while entertaining grandchildren! Whose lives were probably in danger at the time, and certainly their morals.

It makes a difference too. Because a lot of these grandkids have kids and grandkids of their own today ...

... Which they wouldn't have had had Grandpa's actions led to fatal injuries.

So, no, I'm sorry, it's not funny when someone breaks the law. That's true today, and it's just as true for 50+ years ago.

In fact, maybe it's worse to break the law 50 years ago, because we've had 50 years of consequences already.

But breaking the law today, there's still 50 years ahead of us and the consequences are still non-existent as of this writing.

Anyway, that's one of the cases. I believe I got a bit worked up about it there because I take this stuff ultra-seriously. It matters.

Cold Case -- Details On "The Grandpa Case"

I gained further information on yesterday's "Cold Case -- The Trivial Stuff" entry, the case of Grandpa driving a vehicle in a public park, not on the road.

I decided to interview again the person who remembered it. I didn't mention that the interview would be with the purpose of incriminating her grandfather. I find that you get more and better information if people don't realize what your true motives are. So I played it smooth, and, as expected, she sang like a bird.

With a look of happy recollection, she stated that Grandpa did indeed drive a Jeep in the city park, and not just on the roads, but over the hills and through the woods. I asked where would all the other people be? She said it was usually holidays, like Thanksgiving, and so there weren't people out in the park. Just them, grandchildren ... with one dangerous Grandpa at the wheel.

I clarified that it was Grandpa's idea to do this and not something the kids egged him on to do. That was right, she said. He seemed to like it, in fact, that they could bounce along in the park in this Jeep or Jeep-like contraption.

I asked about whether they had seat belts on. She said no. I quickly checked the laws at the time and it seems that there wasn't any seat belt restrictions then. Still, does it seem like a loving grandfather, who would let his grandchildren's lives be at greater risk by now having them properly seated and restrained?

She explained that he only had an eighth grade education. There's a possible "Cold Case" there as well.

Cold Case -- Errors In Books

This is another in my new series, "Cold Case -- The Trivial Stuff." Today, errors in books.

As you may recall from yesterday, "CC--TTS" focuses on investigating the smaller indiscretions, mistakes, and possible crimes of the past. The way I see it, the demands of justice are such that nothing should be overlooked. Otherwise injustice is allowed to prevail. Some might say, those days are over and done with, why reopen old wounds? But you can see, if that plea is allowed to stand, there's equally no reason to deal with current-day troubles. If you let one slide, the other should slide as well.

I have a case today of an error in a book. There's been lots of times in the past that I've seen errors in books and have just overlooked them, figuring various things. One, I've figured the publishing company was just sloppy. But usually I think of the typesetters of those days and the fact that they may have been tired or underpaid and just hit the wrong button on their Linotype machines. Then, perhaps knowing they made an error, they just proceeded on their way, figuring a proofreader would catch it. But these days, I'm not going to overlook it anymore. I've seen so many errors in books it's getting ridiculous.

The error I spotted recently, perhaps some would say the case has gone way cold. That's probably true. But the demands of justice, as stated above, must be served. And I believe with diligence we can have some satisfaction.

Let me describe the case.

The book is called "Hurlbut's Story of the Bible," by Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, D.D. Looking at the beginning of the book, the only date mentioned is 1904.

The error I spotted is on the page number of one of the color plates. In the listing of color illustrations, it says "Paul in the Storm at Sea" is to be found facing page 736. In actual fact, however, that illustration is facing page 712. There is no illustration facing page 736 whatsoever.

Someone messed up, prompting me to check the publisher information. W.E. Scull appears to be the publisher, since W.E. Scull entered the book in 1904 in the office of the librarian of Congress at Washington, D.C. My first thought was to email Scull (and maybe call him a numbscull for this stupid error) or send a letter. But when I started checking around, it doesn't appear that there's any current address, and no email address whatsoever. The domain is not even registered!

Clearly this is someone trying to duck out of sight and avoid scrutiny and thereby responsibility. How many of Scull's other books were chock-full of errors? I'm seriously going to be making a survey of libraries and my own bookshelves. I want to see if we have a pattern here, or if, perhaps, this error was a rare thing. I'm thinking, No contact information, perhaps they made so many errors they're already out of business, in which case that'd be a form of justice.

A thorough investigation, with resources that go beyond mine alone, would get to the bottom of this. I would like to see the original publication files, the background materials, what the artists, typesetters, proofreaders, and editors were working with. At what point did someone drop the ball? I think we'd be able to pull apart the signatures and compare the placement of the other plates, which were all right, to see how things finally went so wrong. The illustration in question was the last of the color plates, except for maps at the very end of the book. Something went wrong right at the end.

A good guess would be: The typesetter typed the contents page just like instructed. But someone who designed the book gave him the wrong information. Then when the picture ended up facing page 712 instead of page 736 -- the color illustrations probably being inserted after the rest was printed -- they already had the contents page printed.

A close investigation would need to take the whole book apart. Plus, we might compare other known copies of the same book to see if all of them (or some of them) are wrong. Then when all the information is gathered, we can start assigning guilt. Once guilt is assigned, assuming we can get the publisher records from storage somewhere, we can contact the person responsible. If that person turns out to be dead -- which is entirely likely, since the book is already 105 years old -- we can still take whatever action seems appropriate.

UPDATE - This very edition of the book is at Google Books. At page 30, you can see the listing of color illustrations, with page 736 referring to the illustration in question. Then you go to page 712 and there it is!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cold Case -- The Trivial Stuff

Here's a great idea for a show, bringing in lots of forensics and investigatory demands: "Cold Case -- The Trivial Stuff."

It's where they go back and try to solve some of the unknown mysteries of the world, which do present themselves from time to time in people's memories.

I heard one the other day that made me think of this. I thought, That was clearly against the law. Someone should investigate the matter, get together surviving witnesses, and see what we could do to try the person.

In this case, the alleged perpetrator is dead, but that doesn't mean we couldn't try him anyway. Just like you can pardon someone posthumously, there's no reason you can't set the record straight the other way too.

In this case, I think there might be enough surviving witnesses to convict, depending on the level of the investigation, how seriously we go into all the aspects.

Here's the case: I heard of a Grandpa who, allegedly, in the late 1950s sometime, took his grandchildren for a ride in a car or jeep through a city park. The woman I was talking to remembers being on this ride, prompting me to say, "That was surely illegal," driving his car in the city park. Not on the road but through the park itself!

I would like to open this very cold case. It's trivial, of course, but that's the whole point of the show. Let's find justice, no matter how big or small.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

OK...The Snow Guy Came

I chanced having my account canceled and called the snow removal place to see if I was "on the schedule." I was very nice, like you have to be.

I hate to say exactly how much I grovelled, but I could only imagine how busy they'd been, etc.

Within an hour they were here with the blade and got it accomplished.

Worked Up In A Constant State Of Agitation

I'm thinking maybe my natural state is a state of agitation. Every little thing agitates me.

It's much like I said about my rage a few months ago. Rage is usually thought of as something to avoid, something be ashamed of, something that's not good for you. But maybe they're all wrong. Maybe it's good just to be who you are.

My current headache is the status of my snow removal. The snow guys showed up and did a halfway job, failing almost entirely to scoop out my driveway. If it weren't for the wind patterns, swirling around behind the house, that part wouldn't be clear. They certainly didn't do it. Then at the end, the city truck came by and left behind about 2 feet of snow, like a snow berm.

So what was I doing after lunch today? Scooping out the driveway with a shovel so I could get the car out. Even then I had to barrel through it. And there were other complications. It's like one of those time travel movies. Anytime anyone does anything or fails to do something, there are ripple effects that no one could predict. That's the kind of noon hour it was.

The day is wearing on and no sign of the truant snow removers. Meaning my ire, my agitation, my rage is simmering, smoldering, and is about to spill over. I feel the creeping crud of anger starting to get the best of me. My rage is stewing, seething, about to bust out in a full scream, then later, surely it will be, I'll succumb to a meltdown like no other.

Where are those guys? Do they not know their business? Do they not know what snow removal entails? Isn't the term explicit enough, clearly obvious? That it at least has some tangential relationship to the actual removal of snow? The snow falls from the sky. It accumulates. It stays there, that is until a snow removal person removes it. That's my understanding of the situation. But of course I could be wrong!

I can picture my snow removal people in my mind's eye, thinking to themselves that they've done a great couple days' work, that their customers are well satisfied with their best efforts.

I'd love to give them a piece of my mind, if such things were allowed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Take Your Sweet Time, Snow Guy

If you see my snow scooping guy, tell him I'm in no hurry.

The one thing I can't afford to do is make him mad.

And nothing makes a snow scooper madder than to ask him when he's going to show up.

They follow their own inner clock, the same way cats find their way home when they're lost.

You'd be mad too if you were expected to scoop out 75 customers the same day.

But that's usually the way it goes with snow. It snows all over town at the same time.

It's not like the garbage service, the east side on one day, the west side the next.

Just because you're paying the snow guy doesn't mean you can say anything.

Because they have plenty of customers and will gladly drop you if you get lippy.

And getting lippy is basically saying anything.

You Gotta Be A Diplomat With Servants

If you're too harsh or too demanding with your mechanic, he'll throw a screwdriver across the room, cuss you out, and that's it. Or he'll smolder and wait till you leave, pretending to be cooled down, then gouge your radiator before you get back, or cut your tubes.

Don't ever criticize or question a mechanic, unless of you course you question him like a child, meaning you don't know a thing about a thing. They don't mind that so much. It's good for their ego.

The same thing about guys or companies that mow your yard or scoop your snow. They know they have a million other potential customers, they don't need you. So any little demand, phrased improperly or with insistence or with anger, is going to be your final one. Because they'll be outta here.

I knew of a grass cutting place, and now that I think of it they also did snow. You didn't want to say Boo to them. And a guy I knew said more than that to them -- a guy without a diplomatic streak, who obviously thought he could talk to them frankly and without fear. That was it! They're outta here. Cut your own grass! Scoop your own snow!

Snow guys are especially bad -- let's say they're just snow guys and don't cut your grass too. Because when it comes to snow you're a lot more desperate than you are with grass. Plus, when it comes to grass, everything's staggered as far as schedules. It doesn't matter if they cut your grass today or three days from now. Everyone's grass is growing at different rates, etc. But with snow, everyone needs it done now, because it snows the same time for everyone.

So the snow guy is automatically overwhelmed every time there's snow -- they're snowed in, if you'll forgive a little unsolicited humor. So if the snow guy has the slightest tendency toward having a short fuse, you're going to set him off if you make any kind of demand, like "Hey, where are you? Aren't you going to scoop my snow, you crumb?" They know they've got you, so they can pack up their blade and leave.

The only way to handle a snow guy is with the most delicate and refined diplomacy. Get on his good side by commiserating with him about how busy his day's been. "You've really been working hard! Wow!"

Then, when he invariably does a bad job, just hold your tongue, keep your wits about you. Because it will snow again someday and you'll be at their mercy again. When it comes to snow, a half job is about as good as a full job. As long as you can get through.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Blizzard Conditions, Folks

I don't have to go to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. There's one outside all over the place.

This storm is a secretary's dream, since it's a White Out.

It's just the kind of night that I would throw another log on the fire. But we don't have a fireplace.

Too bad I can't toilet train the dog. It's tough going out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'll Be In A Hobo Jungle With My Hard Drives

I'm lugging so much computer stuff around now, it's funny. I need a tutorial just to figure out what all the cords I have go to. Then there's all the power strips, with such a confused tangle even the electric company doesn't know what's going on.

This keyboard is behind this computer, and one of these mice goes to it. I just came home with another power strip and a 4 port USB hub. The hard drives have to go somewhere, along with the wireless mouse, which actually does have a wire, sticking on its little transmitter.

As for my hard drives, I baby them, and protect them, from all physical harm and from thieves. It's my daily paranoid obsession that someone is going to steal them. If they went, the dollar value would be negligible, of course, but it's the information and the hundreds of thousands of files on them that would be tough to lose.

I have email files from the '90s on there, and practically everything I've ever done since early 1996. And some of it there are several copies of, because at one time keeping files safe was a lot harder than now. With floppy discs, that never were perfected as far as I can tell. They failed so often, they're still failing in a parallel universe.

People see me walking along. There's the guy with that box of hard drives. Wonder what he has on them that he's so protective of. I'll never tell. They go where I go. And if they don't go where I go, which they usually do, they're so well hidden they'd have to X-ray the house just to get a clue. But spare yourself the trouble, because they go where I go. Not to the health club or the grocery store, of course.

I can picture myself being homeless or being an outcast, out on my own, living by my wits. I'll be walking along the railroad track, looking for a place to stay under a trestle. And there I'll be, warming up a can of mulligan stew in a hobo jungle, me and my box of hard drives.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Take A Jolt From My Electrode

I watched "Frankenstein" the other day, the old one with Boris Karloff. For some reason, I guess so he can be shocked into life, he has those electrodes in his neck. You'd almost thing the doctor would make them detachable, so that he didn't have to walk around with them after he was living. But it'd come in handy, like a port that people have, in case he ever needed another jolt.

The movie's simple and short. Man makes monster, man loses monster, monster presumably dies in a burning windmill. Obviously he died, but who knows, we didn't see the body. There may have been a back way or an underground passage. That's what they could've done, then had him back for "Frankenstein II."

I keep forgetting the name of the monster isn't meant to be Frankenstein. That's just the name of the guy who made him. But I've had that habit ever since I was a kid, and it's hard to break now.

Like I said, it's a simple movie. The creator of the monster, Henry, I believe his name was, doesn't forsake his beloved and go running back, obsessive about working on the monster. You'd almost think he'd be so compelled that he'd have a relapse.

I like the part where the old doctor, the scientist, the brain specialist, is working with the monster. And he doesn't take the precaution of tying down the monster's hands. So, la la la, oops, he's got me by the throat! Bye bye, doctor!

And I'd forgotten the part about the monster throwing the little girl in the water and having her drown. Totally forgotten. Maybe I haven't ever seen this movie before. I wouldn't have forgotten that. Strange.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Here We Are As In Olden Days

It's only Dec. 5, too early to get overly sentimental about Christmas yet. But the big day's coming! And since it is only one day -- 24 hours like any other -- we have to stretch it out by observing it way early, just so we can do it justice.

So Christmas is on my mind. The gifts. The stockings. The cherry chocolates. It's the time Baby Jesus got mad at the Wise Men: "Gold, frankincense, myrrh? What, no cherry chocolates?!" There's certain things you gotta have! And come to think of it, I haven't had a cherry chocolate yet.

The olden days traditions will soon be upon us, like in the song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas": "Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore." We see it on the old world Santas, which we have a few of. The Coca Cola style Santa is OK, good, and nice, but I prefer the ones who look like they just creeped in from an all night toy-building bash at a monastery. The old Santas look like the all-knowing, little-saying wise man, who is a wise man indeed, who eats cherry chocolates kids leave him.

I'll be hanging up my little sock. And hoping the olden days Santa doesn't leave me any sticks. I can get all the sticks I need out of the yard. And of course I don't need any. That's why they're still in the yard.

And I'm sure a few people will be stopping by, for some eggnog, coffee, and other goodies. I'll probably have to slice up a summer sausage before the season's over.

And I'm sure I have a bunch more Christmas music to listen to. Including the song mentioned. It's a forlorn thing, but optimistic, in a sort of "Forget it till New Year's" kind of way.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"The Trail of Life Leads Home" (Our Sacred Number)

There are roads and there are many we must travel,
To get to where we going on our way.
But there's just one road not paved and that's not gravel,
That will take us up to God on that bright day.

I am here to tell the truth to you my brother
Of the trail of which I speak that we must trod.
You will find there's only one and there's no other,
That's the trail of life that leads our way to God.

Now of all of the trails that man might go or wander,
And in all of his long journeys he might roam,
There's no road or trail to take him way up yonder,
But the trail of life that leads to God's dear home.

Oh the trail of life, it leads home,
Oh the trail of life, the only one,
Oh the trail of life, let's be goin'
On the trail of life, no more to roam.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Have I Still Got It?

Yesterday I was crowing loud and hardy about my online writing abilities, essentially claiming they are second to none. I've been giving that a lot of thought, thinking now maybe I came off a little too boastful, a little too cocky.

And they may be a downside to that, psychically, because today I don't feel like I can think of much to say. I'm sure it's some kind of balance problem. What was going on yesterday was some kind of shadow irruption. Now today I'm paying the price.

So I'm here to tinker around and see if I still have it, if I still got it.

I got up today thinking about some strange stuff. I was thinking about priests going to their church in the early morning hours, looking up at the crucifix. I wondered if they genuflected when no one was around. They probably do, just in case.

Also, since I've been tracking a package from China, I was thinking about airplane security and packages. Someone could sabotage one, of course, but if they don't, everything's going to be OK. They don't strip search packages, in other words. No one is suspicious of a box, again, unless it's been tampered with.

Neither one of those things is much to go on. The thing about priests is more interesting. It must be amazing to get up and do the Mass the first thing every morning. That's quite a schedule. I also was wondering if they did some kind of personal devotions beforehand, or if it's all just done cold.

Today, I haven't got it. Tomorrow, I might.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Writing Online Comes Very Easy To Me

Writing online seems to come very easy to me.

There's just something about the immediateness of it, I guess. And the cleanness of it as well. It's very clean. You're looking at a screen, you type, the letters and words line up in a beautiful way. If you make a mistake you just backspace. It even flags your errors. It used to be such a mess trying to write stuff on a typewriter. Or scribbling it out by hand with a pen or pencil.

That's what I can't believe about the great writers of old. That they could sit there day in, day out, with a fountain pen or a big feather and write out their manuscripts in long hand. I prefer pushing buttons. I like keyboards.

I remember one of the first computer keyboards I ever saw, maybe the first. The guy didn't have a computer or any prospects of getting one, but he had a keyboard. This was way back. He might've had the keyboard as part of a synthesizer or something, but it looked like a computer keyboard.* I was fascinated by that thing, thinking, If only... You know? I went into a dream.

I see the whole online experience as a mind freeing thing. The cleanness, as mentioned. And the immediacy. It's right there. You push a button and it's on, it's gone, it's there.

I definitely recommend it to other up and coming writers. Take it from me -- I can't string together five spoken words in polite company. But when it comes to writing online, there are very few who can beat me. I'm still always right up there, at the top of the game. And that's the way it's going to stay!

*UPDATE - I've been thinking about this guy's keyboard. And now that I'm getting it all recalled -- this was back in the '70s -- it was indeed a synthesizer, piano-type keyboard, not a computer/typing keyboard. He had no prospects, very little hope of actually getting a synthesizer made, but he did have a bare keyboard that was of no actual use. But this was back before these things were a dime a dozen, so it was fascinating to me at the time to see it. It sparked many fantasies of the brave new world out there on the horizon. Knowing now how "the future" worked out, I wonder now why it seemed so great.

This Writer Writes Online

Thank you for all your kind remarks about my online writing. I agree, it does seem like it comes easy to me.

There's just something enervating (invigorating? what's the right word?) about the instant feedback you get, even from multiple countries.

It's made me start thinking about signing up for Rosetta Stone just so I can read my fan mail.

It's all very foreign stuff ... some of you know a smattering of English. For those who don't, I appreciate the little smiley faces.

But most of my feedback is definitely in a form I can understand. And that's what gives me, and other writers, probably, such a rush.

So, as it is, I can definitively say, yes, it's true, and there's no doubt -- not any longer -- that I indeed do my best writing ... online.

Online... Just to say the word is to conjure up all kinds of futuristic imaginings!

Who knew? I didn't know. I wasn't predicting it when I was a young writer in fourth grade. I never imagined it. It still boggles my mind.

At that time I was doing what every other creative kid was doing, buying Big Chief tablets at the Feed Store (they had tablets for sale.)

I'd sketch out my little wisdom. Do the "Dear Diary" thing. Make lists of my possessions. Write secret codes and wish I had invisible ink.

I'd make up little poems or jokes, like "JOHNNY---" then something he says, then "TEACHER----", and finally the punchline from "JOHNNY---."

It was all funny at the time. Grandma liked whatever I made up. Plus fantasies about giants, complete with artwork. One Big Eye in his head.

Then came the awkward years. When I didn't want anyone to see my musings. It was a lot of weird "confessions" teen boys might make.

Then I dropped out of sight. I myself didn't even keep track of my comings and goings. It was all very secretive, looking away.

Then they invented the whole online universe. And I felt my shell getting softer from the inside, and finally it fell off my back.

I poked my head out of my shirt, looked around, got used to the light, and started writing. And that's how I came to be here today.

Now I'm ruined for tablets. I can't write on a tablet.

I can only write online. That is to say, I do my best writing online.

Thank you one and all for your constant encouragement. And to those of you in foreign countries, smiley faces back at you!

I Do My Best Writing Online

It's official. I've made the determination. I do my best writing ... online.

I've been all over the place the last few weeks, mostly down and out. It looks like I've dropped out. And I probably have.

But there's one thing that is my saving grace, the great ability I have to write and share my most profound thoughts with folks online. Thank you for your wonderful encouragement. You don't know what it means to me.

I've tried to write other places. And some of it's good. I won't say it's not. But it just doesn't resonate with the same vibrancy that I always get when I'm writing online.

I took a tablet and pencil over by the well and sat there, with my back actually against the tree. I looked down at a blank sheet of paper. The paper looked back. I wondered who was going to make the first move. Because it wasn't going to be me. And it didn't look like the paper had any plans. So we just sat there.

I thought, if I just sit here and pretend I'm writing online, something will surely come to me. I sat there so long and started getting so uncomfortable I had to get up and reboot my legs. You notice every twig, every seed, every pebble under your hind end when you're sitting outside. Nature doesn't keep good house.

I thought I could write about that, but it seemed like too much process and not enough content. It's like writing on the tablet what the tablet looks like. Boring.

So I got up, dusted off my fanny, and went over by where we used to have the outhouses. It's been years ago, and we had a few different outhouses (one at a time of course), and we would have it in one place till that hole filled up, in like a year or so, then Grandpa would dig a new hole and we'd move it over it. Those outhouses moved around so much sometimes it was hard to find the toilet at night!

Now we don't have them, of course, but I was thinking maybe there'd be some good vibes in that vicinity. Some of my family's best thinking over generations took place in that roughly 20 yards x 20 yards space. So I took a lawn chair over and sat there with my tablet, but the only thing I could think of was how fertile the ground around there probably is. In distinction to my mind, which wasn't the slightest bit active and alive. It wasn't online.

Instead of being inspired I kept thinking how the Internet ruined me for tablets. Plus, what am I going to do with a filled in tablet? Read it over myself at night? What kind of sharing is that? I think I really get off on the idea of other people reading my musings. I believe I have fans in more than one country. Places I haven't been, since I've never been anywhere except America.

Anyway, if I fill in a tablet, at some point I will feel like transcribing it online -- to help keep my readers occupied -- and if I'm going to do that, I may as well cut out the middleman and simply write it online in the first place.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm doing it even now, as I type. Isn't that wonderful? And it's quite a flow. You're getting the first draft of history. The rough draft from my suddenly fertile little mind.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Burr, It's December

I got burrs on me today for the first time in ages. And my dog got, not burrs, but some of those weird stickers that stick up and other crap that sticks to fur and makes dogs unhappy.

It was the Last Nice Day (until The Next One), so I decided to take Underbrush, my dog, to the park. It's kind of a park, where people camp in the summer but it's abandoned the rest of the year. There's a bunch of brush and a tiny creek on one side. I've seen deer back there before. One day I thought maybe it was a big dog, so we didn't go back there. But since then I noticed it was deer.

We got back there, crossed the creek over some rocks, then I discovered the ground was kind of muddy and soft. I was sinking an inch or so, so I stood on some sticks, then moved quicker whenever I needed to move. The dog wasn't sinking, but was busy checking out the wild stuff.

I didn't notice we had burrs till probably 20 minutes later. We came up out of that and continued our walk. I was taking pictures. Then I noticed the dog's feet looked dirty. Suddenly she started running about 30 mph at random and I thought, Wow, even the dog knows this is the Last Nice Day and is sowing her oats in One Last Frisky Reverie. It turns out maybe she was just trying to outrun the stickers on her feet. I don't know.

We got back to the car, I sat on my seat and immediately noticed a clump of big burrs digging into my butt. Then I felt down and there were more on my leg, like those burrs that are about ¾ an inch in diameter. I felt on Underbrush and there weren't any of those on her. But now I'm checking her feet and there's lots of this little crap all over her.

So we got out, I pulled off a bunch of the burrs off myself, then I rolled her on her back and was checking for burrs. I was trying to pull off the little sticks and stickers that were tangled in her feet, etc., but it was a mess.

She's chewing her feet on the way home and I'm apologizing for not sticking to our normal course, which would be the civilized world. No more wildlife for us!

At home, I tried to brush it out. But that's no good, she hates it and it must feel terrible. So I was trying to pick it out. Then I put her in the sink and was washing the mud off her feet and hoping the water would loosen up the stickers. It didn't really, but a few of them came off as I was using the towel to semi-dry her feet.

What a mess. I know that over time all this will somehow be worked out. But until there, there's still a few stickers.

This happened to me -- a similar incident -- around 20 years ago.

I had a beautiful collie and took him off in a beautiful field. It was like a calendar picture. We were frolicking, laying down, rolling around, like something out of a nature film. But the part they don't show in nature films is the part when you get up and you have enough stickers to make your own porcupine. I had them, the dog had them, and it was miserable.

I believe I swore off going into nature that time too. But I must've forgotten. Now I'm reminded why nature sucks. So I won't be going into it for at least another 20 years, or however long it takes me to forget this time.