All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


I can't remember exactly where it began but there appeared on my followers list an excellent uplifter entitled "Encourage One another". Then years happened and it resolved into anonymity:
It got very anonymous. Things do. On the 17th, I went in for surgery. Sparing, beyond opioid pain medications, further gruesome details, here is what crossed my mind: 

Mind: each dream, in agony and dissequence, has the moment and forever in it. We wake, and when we wake it is between never and always, where mind combines our days.

I think of Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice."  Is it? I wonder in delirium --are they disconnected or just toppled on each other?

In the 1960s I made a project of touring the contiguous 48 states of my country. I had visions of children chained to their anvils pounding recycled plastic into cellophane. But then the opiates kick in.

I think of Julia Roberts, and that other actor who is also Julia Roberts --uh-----Sandra Bullock. Yes, convalescence is strange. I remember Nikita Khrushchev, "Whether you like it or  not, history is on our side. We will bury you!!!" Remember the shoe? I remember the shoe. Nice shoe.

I wake a little. Stopped taking hydrocodone last night. Don't know why Dr. thought clogging up my digestive tract would be helpful.  If I'd told him I was having contractions he doubtless would have prescribed a bottle of apostrophes.

My pain is definable only by those who suffer it, not by those who don't, so there's no point defining it. My solution? Never suffer.

Sunday, May 13, 2018


I have known this woman over half a century. Half of that, I thought she was fearless. She just about is. You've seen her Normaphotos of wild creatures who allow her to take extreme close-up portraits without sensing  any harm in her. 

There is no harm in her. 

There is however a fear in her.  So, when she went out to film a clip of glowering clouds, I stood at the back door and waited, waited to fling it open in a hurry. Please crank up the audio and view this 27-second clip. It's long been one of my favorites.

Thunderation, Normastampede

Thunderation! It is, so far as I've determined, her only fear.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Bringing In The Mail

Bringing in the mail. Sounds almost like a hymn, doesn't it?

Of course the real hymn, written by Knowles Shaw, referred to the staff of life, grain (and protestant converts), which were described as "sheaves".  Sheaves are bound after reaping and of course must be brought in. Closest I come to bringing in the sheaves is fetching the mail. Other creatures, like bees, really do bring digestible sustenance back to the colony. Observe:
Norma says this is how I look when I am working underneath our cars.  I don't quite know how to respond to that. Only that I am doing some good, that I am still useful, causes me to identify with the corporate beeing pictured --bringing in the sheaves-- but bee is brainless, or nearly so. Is that the future? 

I despair to think this brain, which has served so well, might desert me in later years, if not already. So, as always, I shall resort to sentiment. Love, shall we factor that into our design? We have a love of knowledge and a grief when it is lost.

But love, when you try all your life to make loved ones happy, and have someone say, "you've done well",  there is a deep and abiding happiness --you've brought in the sheaves. The mail is quite something else.

I get frequent letters from Dr. Ami Bera, congressional representative for the 7th district in this state, my state.  I charge into the house spastic with news. I am met with the customary reproach:"Has no one ever taught you to enter a room calmly?" -- to which I reply, "Oh, you would not BELIEVE the gaps in my education!"

I am by love and kindness calmed, and agree the world has got better. The madness that descended a year ago has cooled slowly, somewhat, and a president whose only skill is coldly firing good people has warmed. Given another year or two, he might improve to being almost tepid.  If I can do it, anybody can.

Friday, April 27, 2018


Yesterday, we called the plumbers. They came out to our crazy old farmhouse and needed to get underneath it. I had to saw a two-foot by two foot hole in the floor of Norma's studio!
I sawed down to the sub-floor, then continued,
all the way to Hell!
Between floor and subfloor were newspapers acting as insulation. They were from 1957:

Comfy slippers, Dad's overcoat,
 And Mom's downtown suit:
From my two days with plumbers, 5 days of cold showers, and the promise of a weekend without further assistance, I have been given special insight into an enigma. If, for any reason --before we lie down in the echoes of our lives-- we need to visit Hell, I can now capably saw a hole in your floor or mine of regulation size.

Your regular pastor will return when it is not Friday and the plumbing is fixed. Go in peace.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Readership Drive

There is a noticeable decline in comments lately. I don't follow stats closely but it would suggest a commensurate lull in readership. So I will use a photo that Norma took a few hours ago in hopes it will attract followers:
I didn't know she was photoing me or I would have tried to look less like I was peeing on the walkway --I was not. But it gives me opportunity to quote a favorite Latvian stage comedian, Gatis Kandis: "To those of you who would like to follow me, this is how I look from behind."

Yes, I know, I am a 68 year-old man you probably shouldn't walk in front of, but under that frosty hair a poem composes:
                    Each day comes, goes
                    As days do, and those
                    I spend with you
                    Contain a sum of me.
                    Those rare days gained
                    Here and there in
                    Existence sustained
                    Me since, and trained 
                    Me to be kind -- now,
                    What was it? Oh,
                    What was on my mind?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


I haven't thought of a theme for this post yet, but reckoned this 20-second miracle of pronunciative skill would help. Listen:

Liam Dutton pronouncing "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgoggogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch"

If we consult the Bible, Genesis 11: 1-9, we find the whole world had a common language which moved eastward with Earthlings to the plains of Shinar, where they settled. They built a tall tower to celebrate, but used materials --brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar-- which offended the Almighty and other investors who accused humans of hubris and inferior materials then responded by collapsing the tower and confounding the languages of the planet. The Welsh were suddenly overwhelmed with consonants while the Hawaiians got stuck with all the vowels. It was around this historical calamity that vowels became a fungible medium of exchange.  

My own ancestors came from Portugal in the 1800s with family names that had scads of vowels, like Azevedo, and were encouraged to sell them in exchange for prosperity in the new world --they became the Browns. 

But all the brave abbreviations various families made  fade faster into history when we run across a weather report like Liam Dutton's. He ran through the 60(+or-) letters of a Welsh town with accuracy and nonchalance. He is my hero.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Not-Bad Saturday

I begin this post --with little idea where it's going-- with a Normaphoto of a segment of her garden:

The garden is a good place to spend Easter Eve, or Dark Saturday or any of the other names given to the day before Easter. Most people don't call it anything. It's always a quiet day here --a day during which the northern hemisphere conducts renewal and birth, which are tremendous operations and not a bad way to spend a Saturday. 

These processes are best monitored from gardens, even if it's only a potted plant on the window sill, a bird flying past an apartment window, a sunbeam on the floor. As I may have written here before, it's all one garden and it grows around a star. So I wish you all a happy Easter, from not-bad Saturday, wherever you are.