I love TV

Lughnasa and the Harvest Moon

So. Television. The boob tube. Kill your TV. The great wasteland. Coastal elites love to hate TV. Oh, wait, that was from a Trump supporter. Anyhow, television.

Saw my first flickery images from the little box in 1952, election returns from the Eisenhower/Stevenson vote. Black and white. Dad and I stayed up until 3 am waiting for California. I watched Howdy Doody, Captain Midnight, The Cisco Kid, Sgt. Renfrew of the Royal Mounted, Sky King. This was very early for television in Alexandria, Indiana. My dad’s boss, Mr. Feemster, bought it for him because he thought a newspaper editor should have one.

In 1963 I was at home sick from school and reading Mallory’s “La Morte d’Arthur.” I watched the coverage from Dallas from the beginning. Moon landing. 9/11. Shock and awe.

We were like any television obsessed family, I imagine. Three hours a night together. Yes, I had to watch Sing Along with Mitch (follow the bouncing ball!) and Lawrence Welk. The horror.

Point is I’ve been watching TV for over 67 years. Neither proud nor ashamed of that. I’ve seen some amazing things, some awful things, but mostly schlocky episodes of dumbed down entertainment that had to appeal to families and fit within the Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters.

Several years ago Kate and I cut the cord with Comcast. Too much TV, too expensive. And, real jerks at customer service. Since then, I’ve chosen what I wanted to watch rather than adapting myself to the broadcasters schedule and tastes.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. Those are my ABC, CBS, and NBC. Except. They have movies, lots of movies. Documentaries. TV shows. All that I can watch whenever I want. Or, not.

This is television’s golden age. The small screen has begun to compete successfully with Hollywood. There are many big name boxoffice stars now deigning to work in the used-to-be too stupid medium. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright were among the first. Now: Orlando Bloom. Julia Roberts. Billybob Thornton. For example.

Netflix has made the key move, in my opinion. With their globe spanning ambitions they’ve funded original local television series. Marco Polo was an early one. Designated Survivor: Korea, a recent one, along with the also Korean Possessed and Strong-girl Bong-Soon. Better Than Us is a Russian cyberbot series. Not all of them will appeal to any one segment of viewers, but that’s ok for Netflix. You pick your own. Like the buffet at Country Kitchen.

I love to watch these Turkish (Protector), Korean (see above), Russian, Japanese (The Naked Director), South African (Shadow), New Zealand, Australian, Taiwanese, Thai, and most recently, Fronteras Verde, The Green Frontier, from Colombia.

Since they use local script writers, videographers, actors, and settings, there is an opportunity to see Colombian videographic tastes, the styles of Japanese and Thai actors, the streets of Johannesburg and Istanbul, the country side in Turkey. Not to mention the story ideas are ones that appeal to the particular audience in that country. All of this is a fair equivalent to travel, minus the Montezuma’s revenge and expensive plane tickets.

You may not use this golden era to travel the globe (take that flat-earthers), but I am. And I find it exhilarating.

New Moon

Lughnasa and the Harvest Moon

New moon tonight. Great night for astronomy.

Chang’e flees to the moon. Yositoshi, 1885

Moving out of the time of the first harvest though Lughnasa has three weeks to go. The combines will be in the fields soon, contractors working through the night with the aid of the Harvest Moon.

Dreamy and sleepy this morning. The dogs had to wake me up. Working on getting a friend out of prison. He got out, then reoffended right away. There was a road work project near the top of a high hill. Jesuit’s were the work crew. There’s some Jungian stuff going on here, I can tell.

Picked up another tradition of better days. After Thursday afternoon mussar at CBE, we drove into touristy Evergreen. At CJ’s, I bought two Vienna beef sandwiches, one with giardiniera, one without. CJ sold the place to his daughter last year, but he was behind the counter yesterday.

The parking lot across from CJ’s, which made it much easier to stop in ( parking is bad), has been out of commission since the flood. That was 2012. CJ got flooded out by water pouring down the rocky hillside. Not covered by FEMA. The parking lot, flooded out by the swollen Bear Creek, was. He’s convinced the reason the parking lot’s taking so long to fix is “…because the government’s involved.” Whatever the truth he makes great Vienna Beef. Best I’ve had outside of Chicago itself.

2014, Andover

Mowed. Put roundup down on the five foot perimeter. Had to fix my sprayer, which hadn’t been used in over five years. Since the move at least. Lot of crud in the nozzle. Walking with it, wending the wand here and there, took me back to the Andover garden. Rarely used roundup there, mostly for products from the organic folks Bill Schmidt introduced me, too.

Second Act

Lughnasa and the 1% crescent of the Moon of the First Harvest

Workout yesterday. Used my new 10 kilogram kettlebell for goblin squats. My legs could tell. Even this morning coming up the stairs to the loft. Good to feel the work.

Kate finished up the peaches, preserving them in oj. Put them in the freezer, ready for dessert or snacking anytime we want. Western Slope goodies.

The hot flushes have held off the last couple of days. Good. They can stay away. Side effects from the Lupron not bad so far. I’ve hit the cancer back, hard. Kept up exercising. Altered my diet some, not as much as I could.

2015, first act

Spent some time yesterday blocking out a plan for wildfire mitigation, the second act. Lots of moving parts, many requiring a chain saw. Not sure what my stamina is like now, but I hope to do much of the work myself. Before the snow.

Not sure if I mentioned our new neighbor Derrick. He lives in the rental next to us. They’re heating with wood, so I imagine most of the downed trees will end up at his place. Good for him, good for us.

Today is finish mowing the fuel day. Also roundup on the grasses and plants around the house, the shed, and the garage out to five feet. Where the landscape cloth and rocks will go. It’s been way too hot for tree work. At least for me. Cooler days are ahead.

Dueling Hats

Lughnasa and the crescent Moon of the First Harvest

New ways to do old things change habits. Example: I drove to King Sooper to pick up our grocery order. In my pajama bottoms. The button on the dash raised the back door and closed it when the ClickIt employee finished loading. Never had to get out.

But. At the gas station I had to get out to fill the tank. I had on my pajama bottoms and my Make Orwell Fiction Again blue hat. On the other side of the pump was a blue Subaru and a guy with a red hat. Yep. Make America Great Again. So, there we were, dueling hats.

Plus my doggy decorated pajama bottoms. Morning in the mountains.

So Good

Lughnasa and the crescent Moon of the First Harvest

Our beautiful Rigel. Nine and a half.

Cool again this morning. Great sleeping. So much so that Rigel couldn’t be bothered to get up and go outside before breakfast. I had to go down and roust her. All that barking at the bunnies under the shed tired her out, I guess. Thankfully she seems to be calming down about them.

Brother Mark is back in Saudi Arabia. His employment there has taken some odd turns. He’s headed to Riyadh instead of either Arar or Qassim. As he says, Saudi can be a challenging place to work.

Uncle Mark in the Saudi desert

Today is sister Mary’s birthday. Happy birthday, Mary! She’s starting another year as a professor at the teacher’s university of Singapore.

In other family news Kate and I went on an errand run yesterday. We were out so long that the battery on her O2 concentrator died. Happened on the way home. Even with that she was not exhausted. Still upbeat. Her stamina has improved remarkably with regular, balanced nutrition. It was so good to have her with me, doing things. Today is eleven months since her bleed. September 28th, 2018.

A 75th birthday present

We stopped at Babcock Gardens and Feed in Kittredge. Investigating river rock to cover the landscape cloth I’m going to put all around our house. That’s the 5 foot ignition zone. The one and a half inch river rock covers 80 square feet per ton. We’ve got about 500 square feet, maybe a bit more. 5 tons* of rock to move. And, the woman at Babcock’s said river rock is hard to shovel. Hmm. Time for teenagers. Or, it just occurred to me, a bobcat. Course it would have to fit through our gate. Hmm, maybe not.

One odd element of wildfire mitigation is that, if you’ve done it, the firefighters are much more likely to protect your home in case of a fire. If we try, they’ll try.

*All you math folks can tell that’s only 400 square feet worth, right? Well, they only deliver 5 tons at a time. Gonna try to make that much work.

Not Giving It My Life

Lughnasa and the waning crescent of the Moon of the First Harvest

Orion glistened in the dark morning sky. Looked fancy, like a huge piece of jewelry hung to adorn the heavens. Soon we’ll have a new moon. Might be able to see the Milky Way. Hope so.

Kate and I had a workday yesterday. So good to do things together. She fixed some Western Slope peaches in orange juice for freezing. I gathered up trash and recycling, took it out. Moved boxes and hung photographs of the grandkids. She swept up Kepler hair. Things like that. Ordinary things have become extraordinary.

We had lasagna, the last of the mitzvah committee’s work for us. Thanks, Annie. Tonight I’m cooking for the first time in over a month. Not sure what yet.

When I was in the radiation treatment slog, I felt like I was doing something to counter the cancer. But. It also reminded me everyday that I had cancer. Now that I’m over two weeks out from my CyberKnife days, I go hours, sometimes almost a whole day without thinking of it. Then, I get a hot flush. Oh. Right.

After prostate surgery, it took some time, maybe three/four months, maybe a bit more, and I forgot about prostate cancer. Where I want to be. Of course, every PSA reminded me, but they were only occasional. Don’t believe I’ll achieve cancer as a thing of the past until I’m off the Lupron for three months and get that definitive PSA.

Will cancer kill me? Don’t know. Something will. Whatever it is, it will bring my death, but I’m not giving it my life. Life is precious, short. Don’t waste it fearing things you can’t control.

Once and Future Denver

Lughnasa and the Moon of the First Harvest

Into Lakewood yesterday, Colfax Avenue. For those of you from the Twin Cities, Colfax is Lake Street. Really long, with several interesting transitions as it passes through Denver to the east and west. An A&W Rootbeer Stand had an America’s Road sign on it. Colfax is also U.S. 40, a coast to coast highway from the days before Interstates.

Denver begins at Sheridan, several blocks further east from Kipling which I took up from Highway 6. In that stretch was, when Alan grew up, old Jewish Denver. On Friday, he said, it looked like Brooklyn with women hustling to get their shopping and shabbat cooking done. Then, lots of folks walking to their schuls. Jewish Denver concentrates now to the south and somewhat east of downtown, a long ways away from Colfax Avenue.

Dino’s has red checkered table cloths, booths with naugahyde backs, and waitresses scurrying around in black uniforms. Pizzas. Heros. Spaghetti. The smell of tomato sauce and Italian sausage. On this Sunday afternoon Dino’s has a crowd, folks waiting thirty and forty minutes to get a seat. From the crush of people in its overdone lobby you couldn’t tell Dino’s would soon fade away like old Jewish Denver.

The owner has decided to close. A place of nostalgia and lots of folks want their last pizza, their last salad, their last coke leaving a wet impression on the oil cloth. Cities change, sometimes too much, wiping out their past in an effort to accommodate the future.

As some of you who read this know, I’m a city guy as well as an exurb guy. It’s special to me that Alan has chosen to share his love of the old spots from his youth. It gives me a sense of Denver as it was, often hard to see in this rapidly growing first in the West metropolis.

What Torah Might We Write?

Lughnasa and the Moon of the First Harvest

sumi-e Hebrew script

Went to a bagel table at CBE yesterday. Steve Tick, a congregant and a lawyer, presented on the parshah for the week, Deut. 7:12-11:25. We read all the way through it, taking turns. He’s got a lot of torah knowledge, having studied with a scholar/rabbi for over 25 years.

A bagel table is done in lieu of a Friday night service and usually involves discussion of the week’s parshah. The congregation buys bagels, lox, and shmear. Steve brought coffee, Starbucks in four tall paper cups. He led us through the parsha with his own commentary, asking questions as we worked our way through the text.

My bagel table on September 14th has a parshah much further along: Deut. 21:10–25:19. Torah portions have names, their first words. In this case Ki Teitzei, which means when you go out. Not sure how I’ll use the parshah.

Torah as the first five books of the Tanakh, written by Moses in the traditional understanding, are read and re-read each year. The Jewish lectionary runs from Simchat Torah to Simchat Torah, the joy of the Torah, when the annual cycle of public torah readings finishes and a new one begins with Gen. 1:1.

Torah, or to instruct in Hebrew, can mean all the books of the Tanakh. It can also mean the whole body of Jewish law and teaching. This broad sense of the torah is where most Jewish scholars stop, the broadest sense then.

Rabbi Jamie goes beyond even that. He sees torah as anything that instructs us, anything from which we learn what it means to be (become) human. Nature. Other people. Animals. Thought. Literature. Poetry. Our own life history.

At the bagel table on the 14th we’ll use ki teitzei as a sample text for Rabbi Jamie’s expanded sense of torah. With Emerson’s introduction to nature, we’ll explore how revelation comes to us now. What torah might we write?

Sunny Saturday Morning

Lughnasa and the Moon of the First Harvest

Kate’s second birthday. Yesterday Jon, Ruth, and Gabe came up after school. Ruth brought a special piece of lemon cake for Kate. Ruth made a birthday card at school with 75 in raised numbers and a sweet note on the back. Gabe sent photographs of minions wishing Grandma a happy birthday. Jon made her a card, too.

I drove over to Golden, to Ali Babba’s, and picked up a gyros meal for 5. We dined like sheiks in a tent.

Earlier in the day I worked out. Something odd in the workouts. I’ve been able to advance weight on most of the exercises: inclined bench press, lawnmowers, triceps. I’m holding my plank a bit longer, doing more crunches, increased my goblin squat. But bicep curls. I’m still at 12 pounds and can’t seem to get past it. Unusual. My cardio is harder right now, too. Might be the Lupron.

Rigel has developed a rabbit habit. She goes out, goes straight to the shed and starts digging under it. And barking under it, too. Come on out, rabbits! Come on out. I’m hungry.

I’ve never believed in this tactic, but she’s used it for years. She’s also chewed up boards on our back deck, dug under it, plucked a board off one of the pallets. A board nailed to the pallet’s supports. The definition of dogged.

All this began again after she dug up a vole a couple of years ago. It reignited her inner predator and she’s been trying for critters ever since. She’d calmed down about this stuff after our move. At nine and a half years she’s older, but still very strong, graceful, powerful.

Other Nations

Lughnasa and the Moon of the First Harvest

If you look at the post below, you’ll see a line about a minor fall and osteopenia. Fell this morning going downstairs. Landed, fortunately, on my right side, right hip hitting the ground. It was the left hip that had the softened femoral ball. Could have been, well…bad.

Lots of chatter on Pinecam.com and Next Door Shadow Mountain regarding the 8 year old attacked by a mountain lion Wednesday night. There’s a Greek chorus that sings every time a wildlife incident happens. Two different songs.

The first. We moved up here into their home. We need to respect them, expect things like this, don’t taunt them. Know their habits, live accordingly. The second. When (bears, mountain lions, wolves) harm people, put them down. Sad, yes, but human life is more important.

It’s government policy here to euthanize any animal that takes livestock or injures a human. It was a similar policy that eliminated wolves from most of the lower 48.


We live in the wui (woo-ee), the wildland/urban interface. We have to accept and account for it in our daily lives. Wildfire mitigation. Care in driving mountain roads. Fox, deer, elk, bears, and, yes, mountain lions may cross in front of you. Rocks from mountain sides may tumble down. This is wild nature.

This Henry Beston quote is on our Vet’s lobby wall. And, I agree with it:

“…the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod