It’s been brought to my attention that I haven’t written anything for the blog in a year and a half. That would suggest to some that I’m not wild about the practice. That would be correct. So I asked myself why. Simply put, I’m suspicious of people who talk to themselves. Of course, since the proliferation of Bluetooth and other stuff to put in your ear (Remember when that was a push-off? Stick it in your ear, chump.) half the people out there appear to be talking to themselves. Nevertheless, the whole blog thing has a belly-button gazing quality.

What’s making it suddenly attractive to me, however, is sort of an offshoot of that. I’m going to treat it as R&R, a time and place where I can sit in front of this infernal device and tap out whatever comes to my mind. It’ll be part of my meditation practice – like the flip side of a coin, ok? I mean, when I meditate, it’s pretty conventional stuff; I retreat to my calm place and try to focus away the chaos that roars around between my ears. The blog’s going to be my chance to rave or rant about whatever crosses my mind. Doesn’t matter if anyone else ever reads it. It’s a chance for me to offload something and bring a little fresh air to where that something used to be.

The other thing is I live alone now, me and the dog Terrible. It makes for an almost perfectly conversation-free zone. I’m looking at the blog as an opportunity for conversation in the house that doesn’t revolve around kibble and the lust to chase squirrels. Frankly, neither is high on my list of needs, but Terrible’s quite serious about both, so it’s only proper for me to defer to that. But the blog will let me wander from the incessant warfare among the hummingbirds at the feeders and to the tranquillity of Puget Sound today – which would make the proverbial millpond look like a maelstrom. As with any conversation, should anyone engage anything I say, I’ll answer I’ll do my best of my ability. And if it never happens, I’ve had a chance to see my own words and more intensely examine my own thoughts.

I’m looking forward to it.

Brisket & Bourbon

Jack’s Barbecue. Just plain slow-cooked meat. (The brisket is to live for. Any fool could die for it; any rational person will live, if only to try the pulled pork.) No Martian Desert Dust Rub. No Red Slather to disguise poor temperature control or cheap cut. Furthermore, the house understands that good beer and good whiskey belong alongside good beef, This is Hill Country Texas chow. There’s sauce if your jaded soul demands distraction. Jack’s does it all – pork, sausage, chicken, sides, etc. – but the jewel in the crown is the brisket. You won’t find better beef better done. Period. Michael Sheldon and his charming wife Ellie introduced me to the place. I always considered them friends. Little did I understand.

Wonderful Distraction

How am I supposed to get any work done? Things were working fairly well just now, and a couple of red-tailed hawks decided to buzz the house. Barely rooftop high, echelon left, they cleared the edge by inches, then swooped below the tops of our cherry trees before flapping once to gain enough altitude to clear the hazels at the bottom of the yard. Past that, they connected with the thermal off the Sound and literally rocketed almost straight up a good hundred feet. Then came a third one, on the same track. Now the trio’s over the valley, lazing about in figure-eights and long, still-winged spirals, and an occasional juke I’m sure is just happy-dance show off stuff. Anyone who wouldn’t stop work to watch that sort of beauty isn’t displaying will power; he’s proving he’s a fool.

Splendor In The Grass

We’ve got an interesting tug-of-war going on in Washington. We voted to decriminalize marijuana, which is a sort of strange display of state’s rights from such a liberal community, but that’s just a sidebar. The real tussle is between the number of communities and districts that’ve passed their own law saying you can’t sell the stuff in their jurisdiction and the folks who see the decriminalization as a hook to snag more tax money. All of a sudden we have individuals and institutions that holler righteously about the right to choose complaining bitterly about people who are doing exactly that. It’s a peculiar logic – if it’s legal to sell marijuana – and you simply say “I don’t want it sold in my neighborhood” – you’re thwarting the law. The gun lobby would love that. If enough people who don’t want it around reject stores that sell it, how long will it be before we pass another law that says you have to allow it? And, with that, how long before smoking the stuff becomes compulsory because we need the tax money? As a practicing old grump, I don’t much care what they legislate, except for the entertainment value involved in watching people tiptoe through the ever-expanding minefield of convenience morality. If you got ’em, smoke ’em, I say. Maybe that tax money will buy a cure for lung cancer.


Years ago I saw a sweatshirt that read “Being Retired Means Never Having A Day Off.” I thought it was funny. Now, not so much. I’ve got to prune a couple of cherry trees. They block my view, but in summer they block the sun that turns our living room into a food dryer. Unacceptable in winter, when grown men have been known to stand outside with a Mason jar on a sunny day and beg for just one ray to pour itself in for keepsies. So it’s time for my Pacific N’West banjo (that’s a chainsaw anywhere else) and a sorry piece of work because spring won’t be half as much without all those branches dressed up in their blossom best. Just another chore. Just another pebble to ripple the pond.


I just bit on a thing that said I was the ?-thousandth person to visit a site. Me. I usually want ID from someone paying in cash. Now I have to sit back and sweat out who I let into my computer and what they mean to do about it. My trove of secrets is manifold: Where are my extra house keys? (I don’t know.); Where do my books rank on Amazon? (Don’t know, don’t care, Never count your chips until the last hand.); Will the Seahawks repeat? (Not telling.); Are my manuscripts safe? (If you want to read some stuff that needs revising like a fish needs water, go to it.); What is the meaning of life? (Not on my computer, but I know that one, too, so neener neener.). In short, what you can find out about me from my diabolical machine won’t hurt me. Given half a chance, however, I sure as hell will.

Too Much Everything

I don’t know Robin Williams. Was never anywhere near him. I’ve known more than my share of suicides, I always felt terribly sad, as does anyone. I’ve always wondered why it happened. What could be horrible enough to demand such an act? In the end, though, whether it’s friend or acquaintance or stranger, all that’s left is loss and dismay. I’ll try to understand – again – and I’ll be mystified – again. But the real horror sets in with the realization that any of us is capable of it. May God grant him and all like him the peace they so terribly seek.  


Shutting down for the night. Good day – some good words strung in sequence. Listening to a lady named Judy Carmichael playing piano on Pandora. I’m in love with Pandora. As for Ms Carmichael, she’s only the best jazz pianist I know about. Her group glistens, her playing soars. If you know slide piano, she’s it. If you don’t, that’s like not knowing honey on hotcakes. Get some. And if you’re a neighbor and she needs windows washed or a flat fixed or something, call me. But not unless she’s home rehearsing.

Shakes Head, Not Understanding

Good day today. Got my ARC of Expedition Indigo from Stacy Allen, and no one deserves success more than her. Got a very kind reminder from Larry Verigin (Dark Seed) that bourbon will iron out my aches and pains. Noted with considerable alarm Susan Gunderson’s pictures (who can count the titles?) of her naughty tomatoes. Success, compassion, dirty vegetables.Such a varied bounty. I exult.