The Seal is Broken

It is time. Awaken, Heylel, great sleeping dragon, to the decree from the ninth circle. Rouse yourself, spread your majestic wings, soar once more in the skies of man, and lead them to their doom at Har Meggidon as was decreed of old. Bring them all. Young, old, male, female.

Bring them from every nation of man. Bring them from every far flung land. Bring them to rage, rage, rage at a weak and defeated people. Drive them into the rift of Azazel to quake in the terror of your wrath, and awaken your foe.

Call to the mighty Nephilim, fierce of face and full of lust. Encircle once proud Caanan, she that eternally consumes you. Come! Come! 

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Shaman in the Sagebrush. A shift in fate ...

“I'm sure I must have sounded like a fool and a borderline psychotic most of that year, when I talked to people who thought they knew who and where they were at the time ... but looking back, I see that if I wasn't Right, at least I wasn't Wrong, and in that context I was forced to learn from my confusion ... which took awhile, and there's still no proof that what I finally learned was Right, but there's not a hell of a lot of evidence to show that I'm Wrong either.” 
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976

I was carrying a bucket of oats to a back pasture, but had to cross two adjacent pastures with mean bulls in them. I remember reasoning that I would walk along the fence line, and if the bull charged, I could hop across the fence to the other pasture. I was a little frightened, but not so terror stricken that I could not cross. I managed to traverse the fields without incident.

In the back pasture, there were three non-descript horses, and for some odd reason, I was frightened. But being a farm boy, I was not going to let a damned horse scare me, and I determinedly walk to a feed trough under a cottonwood tree to dump the bucket of oats. The horses were a few feet beyond the trough, and as I neared them, they turned their backs to me to kick me. I panicked, dropped the feed bucket and ran to the safety of the other pasture.

One of the horses looked back at me and said menacingly: “Don’t ever try that again!”

I woke with a pounding heart. Ben, the medicine man, was off on a toot, and I was alone in our camp in the sagebrush. Dawn was just breaking, and my soul was not quiet. The night before, I had received a warning from another Brujo to not go to Denver. That was odd, because I had no such plan in mind, so I just dismissed it.

I fanned the fire back into life just as the sun broke over Magic Mountain, a name that some of the locals had given to the Mountain behind the Taos Pueblo. Artisans felt that it had some pull on them, and perhaps it did. I know that most of us believed we wouldn’t leave until the mountain dismissed us. With the passing of years, I believe that was true, but that I had another calling other than Brujo, and the two callings were at war with each other.

One path had all the comforts of knowledge and power, albeit a bit dusty comfort, and the other was a walk into sere, friendless landscape. I thought I had chosen the life of a Brujo, but the Fates had moved my thread in the Tapistry of Life, and three weeks later I woke on Lawrence Street in Denver, broke and not knowing how I had made the seven hour trip.

A rose colored neon cross flashed “Jesus Saves” above me. A place of refuge on a mean street. I needed a place to sleep where I wouldn’t get my head kicked in. Father Woody sat up on what had once been a stage, reading. People were sleeping in the aisles and wooden pews.  I found an empty spot in a pew near the front, and went to sleep in my new land.

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A fond hello!

I posted this over at Blogster ... I guess that will serve as a reintroduction here!

I am just too acerbic and combative for social sites and decided to return to my roots as a journal writer and leave the socializing to others. Not that I don’t have my social moments, but I really am not one for genteel speech. I am a bit too direct, and will push back if you use a dismissive tone with me.

I think I will feel freer to say what is on my mind on a less interactive site. I find myself walking on eggshells around too many people on Blogster® because of their hypersensitivity.

Anyway … I am back on Blogger® and probably WordPress®. WordPress is a bit easier for me to use, but it has started that damnable practice of putting adds on private pages. Blogger is an antique among blogs, and now navigating around it is like any typical Google site. The graphics suck, the menus are useless, and the instructions nonexistent. But it is a site I have had for a good number of years. I actually have three sites there, but one is sort of parked, and another is very private for collaborative works.

I was just thinking of slipping out the back door without so much as a goodbye, but when I set my pages to private because there isn’t a delete me feature on Blogger, I received a spate of friend requests. I was surprised and humbled at the following I had. Still, I don’t think I want to continue the debate here. I never quite caught the warm fuzzies in here that I had when I first started blogging on Yahoo 360.

I think that era is long past now, and I doubt that I will find the huge pool of likeminded people I found there. So onwards and onwards.

If you wish to follow me, I am at

I hope to see some of you there, but if not, I wish you all a fond farewell!

~ Rusty

But all my words come back to me, in shades of mediocrity

But all my words come back to me, in shades of mediocrity

Almost midnight.  I haven’t stayed up late in a while.  My soul is unquiet again, and I am restless and trapped. Went around to the old haunts online, but used a hidden nom-de-plume.  I recognized some of the old chatters, even some who had changed their screen names.  But I just didn’t want to pick that part of my life up again, and headed to the blogs.

That was a mistake.  After several posts by bigoted, intolerant people who were patting themselves on the back for their … *ahem!* … tolerance, I sat back and thought about it for a bit.  I don’t think I would have one of these people in my house for an evening.  

They are way too fragile and I would end up walking the minefield of their correct speech, correct politics, correct education, and smug disdain they have for those who challenge them, makes me want to deflate them.  Just a little.

I don’t know where to go from here. 


Granny and the Mountain Lion (A mostly true story)

The wind was howling that dark New Mexico night, and we sat huddled in the middle room next
to the parlor stove. Granny was putting together a picture puzzle, which was complicated by the feeble light of a kerosene lamp. The men had gone to Colorado to purchase logging supplies. We had just gotten an order for mine timbers from the mine, and they would need to be bringing trees down to the saw mill as soon as spring would let them.

Granny had a single shot .410 shotgun for protection. The homestead sat at the foot of the Sangre-de-Christo Mountains, and mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats were always trying to get into the chicken coop.

Something outside went “crash!” and let out a long creaking moan. Granny grabbed the kerosene lamp and went to the door.  I don’t know how to describe a moonless winter night in that area, but it is very, very dark, and  Granny couldn’t see a thing.

She shut the door and went back to the puzzle, and had hardly picked up a puzzle tile to try and fit it into the puzzle before a “rawrrrrrrr” sounded outside. Granny went to the door again, but this time she took the shotgun with her. I heard her mumble “mountain lion” as she opened the door.

Rawrrrrrrrrr! Screeeeeeeeeee!

Granny slammed the door shut, and we kids trembled in terror. I had never seen a live mountain lion, but I had read stories about African lions, and I sure didn’t like what I heard.
Granny picked up the kerosene lamp and carried it to the door, and again looked out, and just as quickly slammed the door shut. We were really frightened now, and it didn’t help to see Granny’s jaw tighten as she firmly grabbed the shotgun, opened the door and “Blam!” and slammed it shut again.

“I could see it glaring at me across the road!” she said breathlessly.

Rawrrrrrrrrr! Sreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Went the mountain lion again. Our blood froze and granny reloaded the shotgun, open the door and fired off another shell.

“I think I got him!” she said. “His eyes went out!”

Granny took the shotgun and the lantern and went out, and very shortly returned. “I could see drops of blood on the snow.”

We didn’t hear any more as the night wore on, and we slept a fitful, wary sleep until the first rays of dawn showed through the window shutters.  Granny and I got dressed in heavy woolens, she reloaded the shotgun and I picked up the metal fireplace poker, and we cautiously went out to make sure we didn’t have a wounded cat nearby.

The red drops of blood glistened in the snow in the snow next to an old trailer we no longer used. I warily approached the trailer, hoping that the cat wasn’t lying wounded underneath it. 

Squatting down to look, I didn’t see anything under the trailer, and breathed a sigh of relief. I thought to follow the blood trail to see where the cat went, and went over to the first splatter.

It was then I noticed that the blood had frozen in the snow.  Or so I thought. On closer examination, I discovered that Granny had shot the taillights out of the trailer. The tailgate had been blown loose by the wind, and I went over to put it back. “Rawwwwrrrrrrr! It went as rusty bolt turned in it pivot. “Screeeeeeee!” it went as it swung back.

Granny had killed the trailer!

Over the decades, Granny never lived that one down. When the men heard of it, they howled with laughter, and Granny would smile through clenched teeth. I am not sure but what she didn’t get even somehow. She was that way.

Ms. Muze Returns ...

I was sitting at the PC when I glanced up and saw her perched on the top of my monitor, peering intently at me with her legs inelegantly crossed at the knees, revealing the bottom of her thigh and the dark band of her hosiery. Her tight, ratty and once fashionable tweed skirt pulled up past the knee from the straining, leaving a view I really wasn’t prepared for. I averted my eyes with a shudder.

“Good Lord, if you aren’t a mess. Do you lay around the house like that all day?” she asked. “I would ask you when you last bathed if I dared.”

“Yeah, I do lay about all day. Why do you ask? It’s not like you cared. You left with the rest.” I shot back.

“As I recall, you tossed me out with the rest.”

“You don’t recall very well. I didn't toss you anywhere!”

“You tossed out the women who inspired you. You didn't have any other inspiring things around?” She asked.

I fleetingly though I caught a wisp of genuine concern from, but quickly dismissed it as wishful thinking.

“Apparently not. I usually write for someone’s approval. My ego just doesn’t hold much in the way of inspiration for me. Besides, I didn’t toss them out. They left.”

“If they were smart, they fled.” She cackled in that annoying way of hers.

“Well, whatever. They are gone, and I shut the door behind them. Jeesh. They really believe I am going to ‘have a cup of coffee’ with them some day. Why do women do that?”

“And you moped around for three years afterwards?”

“Yeah. I did. Turns out I also had an undiagnosed illness that made an emotional wreak out of me. I wasn’t prepared for that, and was doubly shot down. So tell me why you ask.”

“Cripes, what a mess you are. I think you need to get a new set of lounge clothes, get a professional barbering, and start sitting straight at the keyboard.”

“You don’t look so good yourself.” I snarled

“At least I am dressed. You are still in your damned PJ’s.” She retorted

“At least they are not ragged. You too busy to stop by Goodwill for a new skirt? That ragged thing went out of style in 1972. And a red Rayon blouse?”

“What would you know about style, hero? You write like Mickey Spillane.”

“Yeah. I do. When I write. I dunno, I have never really ever tried to develop a style. Besides, Spillane made tons of money writing like Spillane.”

“Spillane made lots of money by writing.”

“Well, money isn’t the object at this point. Just catching a theme that could hold my attention for more than three days would be remarkable progress.”

“So you haven’t done anything with Akashaic?”

“No. I set up a timeline, pared some of the characters and demoted some more, and wrote bios for the remaining ones, but the story has sat for three years.  I started a series called Shaman in the Sagebrush, but it got mostly ho-hum comments, so I shelved it.”

“And your Journal?”

“I started three or four sites on® and one on Blogster®. But I really am not all that social, and the current crop of lefties are ignorant, effete asses, though most of them pat themselves on the back for their stellar intelligence. I think their trashing of Paula Jones back in the Clinton era exposed them enough for me.”

“Geesh. You still bitching about Clinton? You are an anachronism.”

“Don’t use big words, it confuses the lefties. Anyway, I am migrating my Journal over to WordPress® and my writings over to Blogger®. I may link to them from Blogster® for a time if it works, but it appears that most people on Blogster wont do links, so I may lose many of them.”

“Are you going to pick up Akashaic now?”

“No, I think I’ll journal for a bit, tell some vignettes, and maybe try my hand at simple poetry for a bit. I am not ready to bury myself into and epic now.”

“Well, hero, I am here if you need me.” she said, giving a little wiggle on top of the monitor.

I averted my eyes.


A view in the dark

I love sitting on a darkened porch in the small hours of the morning when the darkness cloaks me.  When I first purchased my house, it sat 300 feet from three houses, and two of them were vacant. Today, my quiet country road has been transformed into another roaring conduit to the city, and the wage slaves start their hour commute to the city around six a.m.  Then all the new developments near me get their parade of rumbling concrete mixers, and loads of bricks, lumber and sod.

And of course, the slaves begin returning at five in the afternoon.  My neighbor to the north has two sons living at home, and both have those annoying sub-woofers on their cars, and have pretty much ruined my afternoons on the porch as they putter around on their vehicles and play cool woooompa womp womp woooopa’s for all us geezers in the neighborhood to enjoy. 

Yeah. Cool.

But midnight is my time.  Around mid-March here, it gets warm enough to just sit out and take in the loom of the distant city, the singing of the neeker-breekers, and the occasional owl.  To my west is a small cattle operation, and spring nights will have a mama cow bawling to her calf, helping it find its way to a nice evenings supper of warm milk.

Once in awhile, a deer will quietly walk into the yard, but if they head toward the succulent tips of my crape myrtles, a short “ha!” sends them leaping over the fence and into the pasture. Feral cats prowl by the porch in the middle of the night, and are shocked to find me sitting there. With a spit and hiss and they are gone into the darkness.

And all of the wage slaves are tucked into their beds, dreaming of even more obnoxious toys to play with. Gone will be the ubiquitous ear buds, replaced with visions of Clark Kent glasses with streaming video and camera’s to secretly record … what?

And the time flits by.  Time to write.  Time to ache.  Time to sit on the darkened porch and sip beverages. Time to watch a meteor streak across the sky. Time to feel a weather front pass by. Time to let the mind wander.


Death Song


Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—


“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”



I ponder a lot these days.  That is what old men do.  Usually, though, we ponder silently.  You don’t want to hear our song, and even if you did, you would only hear the words, and not hear the joy nor the pain.

Not that I am anywhere near the point of death.  But if I go by the actuarial tables, I had best not make any plans more than ten years out.  So, my friends, do not call suicide prevention.  Please!

I often do daydream about a long life, one with strength and power, and indeed, a lifelong unpublished novel I have been working on is a take on such a man.  But lately, I am beginning to realize that death is a gift from God.

I am soul sad and weary, content to be an Elder and not a leader.  I am selected open the ark and hand the beloved Torah to another to carry.  I have lead a blessed life with a blessed woman.  There is no other woman in this who would be as loyal and caring toward me as she has.  But it is time to write my death song.  Cool.  Now to figure out what a death song is that I can lustily sing as old Thanatos gracefully swings his scythe.  It is sort of like whistling while passing by the graveyard, I suppose.

There was a time that I silently bore grief with a clenched jaw and a dry eye.  I did my grieving alone and in silence, with perhaps a little defiant rage.  But more and more I weep with resignation as I ponder the futility of it all, each spark of life just dies with no choirs of jubilation, no grand musical theme.  The choirs and magnificent orchestrations are for the living.  Every man ultimately dies alone, and that is the tragedy.

Yeah, I have a hope in a hereafter.  But that is a hope.  If I have misplaced that hope, then as St. Paul says, I am the most to be pitied.  All my guilt, all my piety has brought me nothing.

But I digress.  What song will I bravely sing to death?


12,074 pots of coffee later ...

Thursday morning zooms in, and will soon zoom out as the days flit by me faster and faster. Odd how time crawled when I was younger. The most agonizing period in my life was when I was fourteen, new how to drive, and wasn’t permitted to except on exceptional occasions like taking a load of oats to the mill for rolling. It was an ├Žon from fourteen to sixteen and I could get my driver’s license. Then there was the military. It was a slow motion unending hell.

But now, the years whip by in disconcerting rapidity. I feel like a transient here in my newly adopted home State, though I have now been here six years. Summer comes and goes, winter comes and goes, my siblings have children, their children have children and I cannot keep track of all the changes.

A wag once said that time was an invention of God’s to keep everything from happening all at once. Perhaps we get closer to God as we age, and don’t need so much time to take things in. Yeah, I know. I speak as a fool. I seem to do a lot of that now.

The morning is a soft morning, sunshine is abundant, the air a crisp 45°. Snookums returns from her dog walking, happily red nosed and huffing. I cannot believe that it is time to mow the verges already. The rye is sprouting, the wildflowers are already sending up stalks, and the arid Texas landscape slowly awakens to spring.

Today, I visit the two local papers to buy ads for our upcoming Passover observance, cut up a broken tree branch, and pick up parts to fix a toilet. Life goes on, one generation follows another, and I savor the coffee from Snookums flawless 12,074th pot of morning coffee.

Good morning!


A slice of buttered toast

Shabbat Morning dawns bright, and a bit chilly 41°.  Transcendent songs play on Pandora®, and Kippur the Budgie chirps and feeds in his cage beside the workstation.  The daffodils are spent, the hyacinths are blooming, and the paperwhites are preparing to bloom. The various planters need care, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.
I have half an hour to myself before the last rush preparing for morning services. On Shabbat mornings, Snookums delivers my pills and toast at 9:25; 9:40 I shower and dress; 10:10 we leave the house. A rather pleasant sleepy ritual on this day as the smell of stew that Snookums has prepared for oneg, the meal after service, permeates the house. We take lunch at the congregation following services. Then it will be a long, formal nap, one where you get into jammies, and luxuriate in an almost sinful afternoon snooze.
Annie-Annie, our black something-or-the-other as taken to spending her nights on my daybed. That is good, because I was fearing alpha-female issues with her and ‘Becca da Beagle.  Jenna the white puppy doesn’t have a problem yet. Both dogs have taken to teaching her many of her missing dog skills. A firm bite on her snout by Annie has taught her to be a bit gentler in her playful bites, and ‘Becca taught her how to walk on a leash.
And my first cup of coffee is empty as Snookums delivers buttered toast and V-8 juice five minutes early.  Blasphemer! Never the less, I consume them, glad that I have that extra five minutes to finish this morning missive.
It has been a long winter for me. This will be a new spring, with an unfamiliar routine looming. Simplify! My common sense tells me.  One bed for annuals, three beds for perennials, a few shrubs with enough space between them to get the mower thru.  That is my landscape goals for the year.
And that ends my morning as I begin to reawaken from my long winters hibernation.
Good morning, and Shabbat Shalom!

Concerto for Violin and Oboe

Concerto for Violin and Oboe



Concerto for Violin and Oboe plays in the background on Pandora®, Kippur the budgie quietly chirps and mumbles along.  He is not a big fan of classical music. He could listen to 50’s rock all day. The bird just needs to boogie. But I can only handle about 45 minutes of any genre of music before the noise gives me a headache. I am not a big music fan. I could go for days without listening to a musical performance. It seems that the more unquiet my soul is, the less I am able to process noise.

But now I have a parakeet. Parakeets in the wild live in a noisy environment, and to put one into a quiet house can cause acute depression in them. So I keep some sort of noise going during the day. Mornings it is classical, mid mornings it is talk radio, and evenings it is *groan* classic rock. I used to pad down the long hallway to my studio, coffee cup in hand, open the blinds and take in the neighborhood. Then it was check the emails and blogs, then set down to writing a journal if my soul is quiet enough to produce one.

Now, when I sit down, Kippur sidles up to the cage and stares at me until I turn the noise on. Then he squawks, fusses, trills, chirps and fights with his toys in happy counterpoint.

Friday rolls around again, and my “job” on Friday afternoons is to prepare the little storefront synagogue for Shabbat. It doesn’t take long, and I can skip some steps if I am pressed for time. But I look at the time as self-preparation for the Shabbat too. I am retired, so most of my days are spent at rest. I need a little labor so that I can rest up from my labor on Shabbat. Confused?

And good boy me, I have my taxes filed, though I now discover that the Feds are behind in their processing. Damned government has lots of time to pass new tax legislation, but can’t draft a budget. And they want to tell us what is good for us. A pox on them!

Life goes on in rural Texas, I slowly heal from my wounds, and learn the skills necessary to survive as a senior citizen. Who knew that would be a skill?

Good morning!


blahgitty blahg blahg blog

Thursday already.


Kippur the budgie wakes with me today.  Snookums forgot to open the blinds for him this morning, so it became my chore. She so seldom forgets things on her routine list that it is quite easy to forgive her this lapse.  So the stupid bird wakes an hour late‽


It rained last night, but not enough to soak the parched ground. But the land is a very forgiving land, and will spring forth with succulent spring plants and wildflowers.  I try to leave a patch of ground unmowed just to show them off, then mow them under when they get ratty.


The new mutt ate the bark off an expensive tree rose out back, effectively killing it.  At five months old, I have to expect this sort of behavior out of her.  But Jenna is cute, mischievous and loving, so her destructiveness is quickly forgiven.


I need to get out soon and turn the annual beds over.  It will be planting time for them soon.  The tomatoes are potted and set in the guest room for the morning sun as soon as they sprout.  I suspect that they will be going outside every morning very soon for extra sun and hardening.


The yard is calling to me as well.  I need to repair the sprinkler system, wire in the carports for lights and power, gather the wasp traps up and refresh them before the queens start flying and finish putting a breaker into the panel for the new outdoor circuits.


And the accountant, bless her little heart, has my taxes ready.  Every year, I sweat, worrying if it is the year that I didn’t put in enough withholding.  But again this year, I overpaid the withholding.  Texas doesn’t have income taxes, but they do kill you on property and sales taxes.  I pay the lowest rate as a geezer, homesteader and farmer, but it still works out to about a dollar an hour if I were a working man.  A dollar an hour to insure that the trooper who gives me a speeding ticket gets his salary.


So’s anyway.  The sun climbs another 15° into the pale sky, Scooter the mailman leaves his daily load of circulars, bills and occasional letters, the temperature rises to 60°, and I must make the long trek to the kitchen to get my second cup of coffee.


Good morning!




It aint goodbye just yet.

I have stood at the crossroads so many times in life that I have learned to live in the intersections when I lack purpose.  The only trouble with standing in intersections is that you are more likely to be run over, and over the last few years I have taken a few huge smackeroos.  My gut says it is time to choose a road, and move away from the wrecks.

And I am at sea.  The congregation has grown strong, and no longer needs me.  I clean the building on Friday just to keep my hand in things, but I really want to move on elsewhere in the precious little time I have left. 

Some decades back I decided that drinking had lost its charm, and quit.  Cold.  In very short order, my old friends became boors, and my old neighborhoods became dull.  It was time to break out, and I didn't know how to do it then just as I don't know how to do it now.

What did I want to do, where did I want to go, I asked myself, then.

And myself answered: I dunno.  What else is there?

Shortly thereafter, I woke up in a strangers house 500 miles from my old haunt, broke, alone, and I liked that just fine.  It took about a year of hard living on the streets, but things changed and I was reborn.

The last three years I have once again fallen into a rut, where the same story plays out every single time, and I want out.  I want a change.

Where am I gonna go?  What am I gonna do? 

I dunno.  But it will be somewhere and something.  I doubt that I am going to wake up in a strangers home this time, nor will I be alone and penniless.


Topsy-Turvy's®, and a before and after

I am up with the sun today.  It seems that going off of the Statin drugs for cholesterol is improving my mood.  It is difficult to pinpoint the causes of the mild depression, it is so subjective.  After consultations, the doc suggested that I stop taking them for two months and see if there is an improvement. But then the slowly lengthening days may have much to do with it too.  

It is a brisk 45° (7° C) outside, winter finally returned after a unseasonably warm January.  Snookums just came in all rosy cheeked from the morning dog walk, and departed again for her power walk around the loop.  But I sit here in a nice comfortable studio, though a slight chill touches me from the bright window. Kippur the parakeet is now my companion in the mornings.

We moved his cage to my studio because he wasn't getting enough stimulation.  Parakeets in the wild live in very noisy and active environments, and long quiet spells are depressing to them. They need noise.  So in the morning as I go through the videos and such, he fusses at me, trying to get me to play the one recording I have of parakeets feeding and responding to my talking to him.  My A.M. radio is on a timer, and at 10 am, talk radio comes on for three hours.  He chirps, sings and fusses happily in the noise.

Before ...

... and after
I am still irked with my neighbor setting up a single wide trailer house out my window.  I was sitting here minding my own business when this huge truck dragging the trailer slowly roared across the field and stopped right in front of the gap that frames an old one-room brick schoolhouse about half a mile down the road.  My ever-industrious Asian neighbor-lady had warned me a couple of years ago that she was going to put in a couple of rental units, so I wasn't totally taken off guard.  She is very ambitious and I am sure that when she is finished with it, it will look nice with plantings around it.  Still, I resent the ever-encroaching tentacles of civilization.  I am going to have to find some sort of planting to soften or block the view.

I am almost weaned from television now, getting my news off the internet.  It is easier to tell when the press is hyperventilating that way.  It really troubles me the way they use the same phrasing, the same buzz words, the same camera clips when they are presenting their stories.  

That tells me that there is some collusion in the news industry, and they spend way too much time shaping the news, and not enough time simply reporting it.  The internet at least allows me to filter the more egregious partisans and philosophies, and concentrate on the real pulse of the world.

Anyway, that sort of wraps up the morning here in my little crowded corner of the universe.

Good morning!


On pickup trucks, vans and the indignities of aging

Gas Hog

Wednesday morning.  I have today and tomorrow to get my safety inspection done on the van, affectionately known as "gas hog".  Gas Hog is a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan that has served us well in the last decade as we made the move down here, and is still running well enough that I don't want to trade it in for a more fuel efficient model. 
My other vehicle is a 1995 Chevy ½ pickup truck that usually gets less than a thousand miles on it a year.  It is also a gas hog, but not nearly as bad as the van. I don't really need a pickup these days, 'less it is to haul a skunked doggie to the groomer.  The van will haul almost as big of things as the pickup.  

But owning a pickup is a visceral thing.  A man is only half a man without a pickup in his driveway.  I have to keep what is known as a trickle charger on it to keep from buying a battery for it every year.  The trickle charger puts out a very small current, about ½ of an ampere, and allows the battery charge to "float" at full charge until I am ready to use it.

Ain't she purdy?
Most of the time the bed is full of tools that are being used for whatever the current projects are.  Right now, the current project is removing limbs from the trees that were heat stressed during the relentless droughts we have had over the past three years.  I don't have to put the saws and such away, I just leave them in the bed of the truck until the project is over.   

Next month is its month for the yearly inspection and registration, and I'll clean it out before taking it to the inspection station.  A man who has a cluttered bed in his pickup has a cluttered mind. The State of Texas knows the deep seated need for men to own pickup trucks, and taxes them at about half of the value of a new car.

Snookums is pushing the big green trash bin out to the curb for the Wednesday pickup.  She brilliantly decided to take the dogs with her.  Two puppies with minimum leash training, and an older dog that is valiantly holding on to her status as alpha female.  Linda moves the bin 20' … untangles the dogs, then another 20' and untangles the dogs.  It is 280 long feet (80 M) out to the highway.  Do the math!

The exam is not finished
The annual digit in the rectum day went flawlessly this year.  The blood sugars are all in the target range, the cholesterol is good, the heart beats at a strong resting 70 beats.  A tad high, but still acceptable for a sedentary old man.

And finally, the weather.  A brisk 45° (7C) greets us today.  The killer storm blew off to the north of us.  I heard a smattering of rain last night, but the porch railings are all dry as is the ground.  It probably wasn't much help to us.  So this week I need to put deep watering the shrubs and trees on the calendar.  It is good to get out to help shake the winter blah's, the seed catalogues are calling to me, challenging me to more work that I wish to perform.  But some things you just have to do because they need doing.

Good morning!


Normal January Morning

It is noon as I begin to post.  Talk radio rumbles in the background, Kippur the budgie is taunting me, trying to get  me to interact with him. The giant pecan tree is waiving in the stiff breezes.  However, the oddest thing for January is the 72° temperature outside.  We are waiting for a violent storm to arrive sometime today, and we are hoping for a little rain from it, even if we do have to put up with tornados, hail, lightning and violent winds to get it.  But there is a good possibility that we will miss everything but the high winds.

I am losing patience with Blogster®.  My site is up and running with few hassles on BlogSpot®, and several of my friends have migrated there, so we have a growing community there as well.  I don't think we'll ever recapture that enthusiasm we had on Yahoo 360.  Mulitply® provided some of the enthusiasm, but the management never really had no interest in developing the community.  Blogster does have that interest, but I am not convinced they have the resources. 

So I think from here on, I will just post a link to my BlogSpot site and close off comments.
It is time to start to think garden again.  I need to get some tomatos started, and maybe this year put in a semi-permanent strawberry pot.  I hope to get at least a rudimentary irrigation system started as well too.  The seed catalogues have started arriving.  Spring lifts the winter doldrums and my spirits along with it.

I see the usual suspects in Congress are grandstanding an immigration bill.  They act as if we just discovered there was a problem.  I am learning a deep visceral hated for people who want to be my "leader".  The moment they decide to run for public office, we need to regard them with very thinly disguised contempt and wariness.

So goes the late January day … the Rabbi comes online, and it is now time to study …


Tu B'shevat. Arbor Day

A light fog turns the landscape into a wet eeriness, and the bryophytes (plants that get water from the air) swell up lushfully in the unseasonable warmth and humidity.  It will warm up to the low 70's today.  It is hard to believe that it is mid-January!

And the clock keeps ticking.  Linda will bring me some buttered toast and a coffee refill in ten minutes, and after that, I'll begin showering/shaving/gargling and such so I won't be so offensive at services this morning.

But for the moment I have a hushed moment with you.  I haven't stopped following your blogs, I have just been in a long dry spell where everything just sort of lost its taste.  I didn't garden, I didn't write, I didn't get dressed, I didn't plan.  Feels good to be back, though I see my thoughts are still disjointed and flat.

Soon, though, that last rush as we haul out the contributions to the pot-luck that follows the morning services, and the stuff the collection of papers for the congregational website into a manila folder, we'll be off for the morning.  Later tonight, the congregation is having a Tu b'shavat get together as well.

Tu B’Shevat is first referred to in the late Second Temple period (515 BCE to 20 CE) when it was the cut-off date for levying the tithe on the produce of fruit trees. When Jewish colonists returned to Palestine during the 1930s, they reclaimed the barren land by planting trees where they could. It became customary to plant a tree for every newborn child – a cedar for a boy and a cypress or pine for a girl.

I will plant a tree tomorrow to keep the tradition going.  Probably where it blocks the view of the new intruder, the trailer house.

Good morning! 

Do not fersake me oh mah darlin'

I do not write well when my soul is unquiet, so I have not written in awhile.  I reached a point in pain that I did not want to talk about it anymore.  So I sit down to write this morning, and three paragraphs into the screed, I hit the delete key.

But I am still here … 

Grandpa (Pop) thought "High Noon" was the greatest film he has ever seen. Pops acting career was cut short when he was working as an extra in a Tom Mix film, and accidently shot Tom Mix in the temple with a blank round from his six-shooter, cold cocking Tom with the wax load.  He didn't know that even though there wasn't a bullet in the cartridge, there was still wax and paper wadding that came out of the barrel at warp speed.