• Category Archives World History
  • The Good Boy. Again.

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Monday gratefuls: Power back on! Internet back up! Exclamation points available! Only a bit over 24 hours but felt longer. Bleed appointment reassuring. Working on the Good Boy and his fears. Finishing Three Body Problem book. Reading There, there. And The White Road. A beautiful, calm day in the neighborhood. C.O.R.E. linefolks. Good work.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sparks of electricity

    One brief shining: Not sure what your triggers might be, here are a few of mine: must, should, have to, no choice, get on it now which of course reveal an underlying trigger too often tripped by those with imagined authority over me, my life, my choices, you know, you’re not the boss of me.


    Wanted to unveil an inner dialogue I had at 7:00 am today on the way to an appointment with a G.I. doc. While driving I rehearsed, “I’ve been without power and internet. I couldn’t have signed in.” “Are you even in the service business? Where do you get off telling me I must sign in?” “My late wife retired because she was so tired of this sort of medicine.” And other similar phrases.

    I wasn’t sure I’d make the 7:30 appointment. The first trigger. One of my own. Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology text saying: You must sign in for your 7:30 appointment. Second trigger. Internet down and power out. Third trigger. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, late, angry, defensive. Ready to go to battle with the evil empire of capitalist medicine. For about 20 minutes of drive time.

    And, I knew I was being this way. Tried to talk myself down. Failed. Finally got to a point where I could walk in and say, “Hi, I have a 7:30.” The folks behind the desk coudn’t have been nicer. They helped me get signed in, were solicitous, kind.

    Ashley, the P.A., was sweet. Knowledgeable. The bleed. Scary, but not life threatening. Might happen again. Good to be prepared. She had a sensible plan that includes checking my anemia, considering then whether to do a more invasive exam. I liked her.

    This was all about the Good Boy. The part of me that wants always to slip through authoritarian gates unnoticed. Neither defensive nor obeisant. Not sure why I’m so conflicted about authority, so eager to avoid its grasp. Might be Dad. Might be a more generalized angst about being trapped because of someone else’s rules.


    Just a moment: Iowa lost. But Caitlin. Ah, Caitlin. “I never sit and sulk about things that didn’t happen.” NYT

    This young woman is the complete package. Skilled, persistent, determined, sound work ethic, and now with inner calm. Be like Caitlin.


    In other news: Wars and rumors of war. Elections and rumors of denial. An eclipse with a prediction of clouds. And it has ever been so. The immediate, the happening causes us to gaze into the future, dragging it with us as we look. Ukraine and Gaza. Can WWIII be far behind? Biden and Trump. Who will claim to have won? Totality. What does it look like under cloud cover? Might be easier to live with what is and not wonder what will be.



  • Tradition

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: My son and Seoah and Murdoch. Kathy. Cancer. Morning darkness. Taxes done. Ruth and Gabe. Barb. Alan. Joanne. Tallit. 77. Blood pressure low. Ruth’s graduation on May 18. Surrender. Dreams. Irene. Mountain melting. Slow. Snow. Graupeling.* Yesterday. Spring. The scent of Soil, the odor of sanctity. Mountain Streams ready for their big show.

    *A precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Taxes

    One brief shining: Heated up the simple Pinto Beans, got out some crackers and a mineral Water, peeled a Tangerine, carried them downstairs, and sat down weary from a day of writing, working out, dreams, and rituals. Ah.


    The days of our lives. Three days with Ruth and Gabe. They come, deposit their various shoes at the door. Gabe purple Converse tennies. Ruth oxblood boots. Go to their respective rooms, designated by long habit. Gabe in the mural painted “children’s” room. Ruth in the guest room.

    Ruth drove them up in her Subaru, the official car of Colorado. They stopped at King Sooper’s to buy groceries. I thought they’d buy food for meals. Forgot they’re teenagers. Mostly snacks. In addition vegetarian corndogs, a box of mac and cheese.

    Gabe is an early riser; Ruth a night owl like her dad. We talk. Laugh. Go out to eat.

    At the 202, a Thai spot in Aspen Park, I ordered a spiciness level of 1. They both went with 4. Jon would have, too. Ruth remembered and wanted the Sticky Rice Custard. Oh, so good.

    The two of them have been coming up here since Kate and I moved here in late 2014. Ruth was eight and Gabe six. Jon brought them up here frequently, often to avail himself of our washer and dryer, but we got to see the kids.

    When Jon and Ruth went skiing at A-Basin, many times Jon would drop Gabe off with us and pick him up later that night after a full day of skiing. Ruth told me she finished her first Harry Potter on those trips.

    Skiing bonded Jon and Ruth. As did art.


    Just a moment: Timber framing. Traditional carpentry. The route of an American Jew to the restoration of one of Roman Catholicism’s most well-known cathedrals, Notre Dame. Found this article fascinating. Timber framing is a traditional form of carpentry that any one familiar with Japanese or Chinese woodworkers would recognize. It uses mortise and tenon joints, wooden pegs to hold joints together. It was also the most advanced form of construction available when Notre Dame was built. The restoration of this Paris landmark has focused on original materials and methods, meaning work for timber framers, stone masons, stained glass artisans, sculptors, and metal workers focused on techniques of the high middle ages.

    Hank Silver’s story fits in with Charlie’s List. These pre-modern building technologies could reduce the currently heavy carbon footprint of contemporary construction. Let’s build homes from stone and timber framed roofs. Stores and office buildings, too. Let’s employ, at a living wage, those folks for whom college holds no interest, but working with their hands does.

  • I sense you’re slipping…

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Bill and Carol. Lea?, Lila? and Rider. Covid booster. The Morning blessings. The Shema. Snow. Slowly sublimating. (Which, I just learned, takes 7 times the amount of energy that boiling water does!) Knife handling at Evergreen Market. Rebecca. Safeway. John Connolly. Books. Still arriving. Breakfast. Waking up.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dogs

    One brief shining: Wandered in to the Safeway, past the Ugli fruit and the Dragon fruit, past the eggs and the dairy case, walked up to the counter, I have a 10:30, all we have is Moderna, that’s fine, off to the small waiting area with chairs, ten minutes later a quick oddly painful jab, thank you.


    Still wrassling a sense of diminishment, a sullen colored mood that feels like a slight weight on my shoulders. Thrashes my self, my soul leaving them tired, exhausted even at the start of the day. Dawn does not come up rosy fingered, but scratching against the darkness, bleeding into the Forest, silhouetting Black Mountain rather than revealing. Makes me want to sit down, lie down. Go back to sleep.

    Might be my long exercise drought. Two weeks ago I stopped because I didn’t want to irritate my bowels while they healed. Then the snow came and I can’t get up to the loft. Sleep is not as good. Not bad, but not good either. Or anemia. Or some mysterious dark haired revenant from my shadow. Could be cabin fever, too. Lot of staying in over the last couple of months. Might need a vacation. Probably do. Almost certainly do. So what’s stopping me?

    Inertia. My back. Winter’s tenacious though now tentative grasp. In other words, nothing.

    Whatever it is, I feel like that guy in the old Pogo cartoons who walked around with a rain cloud over his head. Not. Much. Fun.

    I also know this will not last. If Kate were here, she might be telling me, “I can sense you’re slipping into melancholy.” Guess she is here in my heart, telling me that, isn’t she?


    Just a Moment: Could also be the steady fall of disappointing rain from America’s election 2024. Friends are going to Costa Rica to check out land. In case 45 turns into 47. Intelligent, rooted friends. Don’t want to live out their sunset years under an autocrat. Not hard to understand though I feel no pull in that direction.

    Or, maybe the politics of Israel, the U.S., Palestinians. When was the last time a majority leader of the Senate spoke for regime change in a country that has been and is our ally? I agreed with Schumer, btw. Netanyahu bought and paid, literally, for this disaster and sustains his time in office only through the cheapest of political maneuvers.

    Might it also be articles titled like this: Why we shouldn’t give in to climate despair.

    Sure these everyday on the frontpage news items are not Zoloft for my mood.


    And yet. I’m not my reactions to the news. I’m not my fatigue. I can choose a different path. So. I will.



  • Ontario

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: DST. MST. Songtan time. Hello, darkness. Stratford Festival. Mark’s reprieve until April 16th. Seoah and Murdoch and my son. Zoom. Janice and Ginny. Scott. Shabbat. Adar II. Leap years Gregorian and Jewish. Aspen Perks. Kat and Travis. Reading. My great joy. Computer glitches. Ancient Brothers. Mario and Babette on the road.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Stratford, Ontario

    One brief shining: Those trips to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario involved camping on the shores of Lake Huron, listening to the long trumpets with banners blare out a fanfare for the start of each play, Shakespeare on the stage, the lovely Avon wandering near by and the Black Swan Coffee House where I first encountered criticism of the U.S. role in Vietnam.


    When having breakfast with my friends Ginny and Janice, both theater folk, we discovered our mutual affection for the festival in Stratford, Ontario. I haven’t been back since my honeymoon with Judy, my first wife. 1969. A long time. But in talking with Ginny and Janice I reignited my interest. Much as I did last week with my passion for creating a sustainable presence for humans on our only Planet. Guess I should start paying attention. The psyche is a changin’.

    Those were highlights for me with our family. Driving into Canada, a foreign country! Crowns on top of the speed signs. Familiar cars with unfamiliar grills and looks. Colorful money. Crowns again. It all felt very exotic to me. The farm houses in distinctive shades of blue and yellow. Kincardine. A Scottish town. Ipperswich Provincial Park. Provincial. Not state. Provinces. When our time in Stratford finished, we would drive on north to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

    There we would motor on to the Chi-cheemaun, a car ferry run by the Owen Sound Transportation Company, and cross the Georgian Bay. The Flowerpot Islands in the distance. No car ferries in Alexandria, Indiana. It was all wonderful. Strange. Not in the U.S. We traveled to a foreign country. I didn’t know anybody else at home who’d done that.

    Until the War. The Vietnam War. That bastard child of anti-communist fever dreams. Classmates began to disappear overseas. Dennis killed. Richard Lawson wounded. The Native American guy whose name I don’t recall right now killed. A few of us. Very few went to college. Exempted. The rest. Fodder for the meat grinder of an unnecessary war.

    This was the early 1960’s. They all blended together. Shakespeare. Coriolanus. The Black Swan. Lake Huron. The cranking sound of the Chi-cheemaun’s open maw closing. The quiet vanishing of young men my age. The end of high school. Mom’s death. The start of college. So long ago. So far away in time as to be of another century. Even another millennia.

    Which all segued into the movement. The anti-war movement. The days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Which describes my experience well. As the Grateful Dead said, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

  • The Rights of Nature

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Tara. Joanne. Jamie. Ginny. Janice. Scott. Wild Mountain Ranch tenderloin. The Rights of Nature. New Zealand. Maori persistence. The Whanganui River. Its legal rights. Constitutions that protect the rights of nature. My Lodgepole companion. Tree huggers. Regenerative farming. Land as itself, not property. Shadow Mountain. Its rights.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Rights of Nature legal revolution

    One brief shining: So I tried the Pomodoro method yesterday, work intensely for 25 minutes, 5 minute break, do that three times, take a 30 minute break, and found it helped me keep reading and not get distracted by oh, an e-mail, wait I’d like something to eat, maybe I should put that new light for zoom together; it’s for working on a longer project requires focus.


    No. I’m not going back to the work world. I like to increase my productivity if I can though and will try different methods from time to time. Right now I’m trying to get this book, The Rights of Nature, read by Saturday for the Rights of Nature bookclub. Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Land Library it’s in the sweet spot of my passion: our world and how we humans can live within it. Over time.

    If you want to feel better about our species, you might find this book worth a read. It summarizes the theoretical (jurisprudential?) movement of the same name. This legal movement is active in many nations around the world including the United States and Canada. It tends to gain ground through individual lawyers and certain types of NGO’s like the Community Environmental Defense Fund and GARN, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, though in some places like Ecuador mass political movements have played a role, too.

    New Zealand has made important advances in their legal system by giving personhood to the Whanganui River and a former National Park with the unusual name of Te Urewera. It means burnt penis in Maori. Apparently a chief rolled over onto a fire and died there. Both the Whanganui and Te Urewera now own themselves and have human advocates who can file lawsuits and speak on their behalf to the New Zealand government. Imagine if the Mississippi had the same rights as a corporation Which is also a legal person in the U.S. Or, Shadow Mountain. Or, Lake Minnetonka. Or, Lake Superior.

    You might recognize that this movement has roots in the lifeway of indigenous people. It does. The Maori played a key role in changing New Zealand’s laws. A Maoriiwi,tribe, championed the Whanganui river personhood because the river is central to the iwi’s identity.

    Gonna add certain of these NGO’s to Charlie’s List. I’m beginning to see a web of interrelated ideas, actions, and groups that are already at work building a sustainable human presence here on Earth. For the future of humans as a species this is work that has to be done and done now.


    Just a moment: On Netflix. The anime series Blue-Eyed Samurai. This is a story of Shogunate Japan when Japan had closed itself off from the world. The plot follows a blue-eyed Japanese child, a pariah because of the child’s Portuguese father, one of four white men in Japan at the time. He raped the child’s mother. Revenge drives the story.

    For anyone familiar with the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the same era in Japan, you will see the careful attention the animators have paid to them as they created this series. Japanese puppet theater also gets a central moment.

    This is adult fare and a complicated, compelling story rendered in the most beautiful anime.

  • Asia

    Imbolc and the Ancient (77) Moon

    Friday gratefuls: New theme. Korea. Fried Fish restaurants. Barbecue and hot pot. The Fish market in Seoul. Gyeongbokgung palace Seoul. Sejong the Great. Okgwa, Seoah’s home village. Gwangju. Hutongs in Beijing. Firewalking in Singapore. Chinatown in Bangkok. Scorpions at Angkor Wat. Asia. Kanji. Hangul. Ideograms.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Asia

    One brief shining: The colorful ceremony of the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung palace preceded my unfortunate discovery that I had spinal stenosis; walking across the cobblestones and up steps into the palace buildings, a pain began to take shape, to flare over my lower right back, becoming so fierce that I hobbled, then sat down, willing to stay in that spot except the car was not in the palace but far, far away in the parking lot.


    Asia. Long now my focus. Brother and sister living in Southeast Asia for many years. Mary in Malaysia and Singapore, Mark in Bangkok. My son from the subcontinent. His wife from Korea. The Asian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Reading Chinese, Japanese, Korean fiction. K-dramas.

    Funny this Asian pivot. When I married Kate, of blessed memory, we honeymooned from Italy to Austria, Austria to France, France to England, England to Scotland. Seeing the great sites. The Colosseum. The Vatican. The Sistine Chapel. Pompeii. Venice. Florence and the Uffizi. The Vienna Opera and the Ringstrasse, Salzburg. The Louvre. Small cafes. London. Bath. Edinburgh. Inverness. All European, Britain. Not even Scandinavia.

    In the thirty plus years since then, I returned only once, in 1995, to stay in the residential library of Hawarden, Wales. I did write my novels from within the Celtic mythic universe, yet I was even then beginning to spend time with the teaware and bronzes, the Song dynasty ceramics, the mandalas and Buddha’s of the MIA’s Asian collection. Well before that Mary had moved to Kuala Lumpur, then Singapore and Mark taught in Bangkok.

    And that Asian kid grew up in my house, in my life and heart. He then married Seoah, a native of Korea. Kate, my son, and I flew to Beijing in 1998 or 1999. That was my first time in Asia. After Dad died, I used some of my inheritance to visit Mary in Singapore, see Bangkok, then Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In 2016 Kate and I went to Korea for my son and Seoah’s wedding, then onto Singapore where Mary graciously housed us in the largest hotel suite (the only hotel suite) in which we ever stayed. Last year I flew to Incheon, then stayed in Songtan for five weeks with my son and Seoah. Europe has faded from my awareness as a destination, a place I yearn to go.

    I didn’t mention several trips with Kate to Hawai’i, then even more trips there to see my son and Seoah after Kate’s death. Hawai’i, especially Oahu, has a definite Asian inflection.

    Here’s the thing. Obama declared an Asian pivot in our foreign policy and my son’s career has reflected it, but as a nation we know little of Asia. Did you have ever take a class, even have a lesson on Chinese history, Indian history? Outside of Mao and possibly Xi Jingping, maybe Kim Jong Un can you name three other significant Asian leaders. Make it even harder. Asian leaders, any nation, from history? Do you know any works of fiction written by Asian authors? Have you been in any Asian country?

    I know a few of you who read this will answer yes to some or all of these questions, but you are in the minority. This glaring gap in our base knowledge is not our fault. Asia simply didn’t show up in our curriculum at the public school level. Except as exotic enemies. Anti-Asian racism began for us with the Chinese who came to build the railroads and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Beyond that, we know little of Asians in our own history.

    Why is all this important? Mostly because these cultures are so rich, have figured out ways to be human that have not occurred to us. Also, of course, because Asia especially India, China, Japan, and Korea have begun asserting themselves in contemporary geopolitics. If you haven’t, take some time to learn. You’ll find Asia fascinating.


  • The Technocene

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Luke. Sushi Win. Birthdays. Feeling seen. Darkness. Reading. Mussar. Fountain Barbecue. Their Chicken wings and pork ribs. Fingers. Toes. Heart. Mind. Lev. Exercise. Alan and his funny ecard. Weird Al Jankovich. Sympathy for the Devil. Rolling Stones. Beatles. And, Beetles. The Who. Credence. Jefferson Airplane. The Doors. Led Zeppelin. Early Music. Gregorian chant.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sushi Win

    One brief shining: Ordered green tea yesterday at Sushi Win, waited a bit for it to show up, when it came it was on a delivery robot which rolled up to Luke and mine’s table with a smiley face, a button that said finish, and a pot of green tea, two cups, styrofoam plates for our order, chopsticks, and wasabi/soy sauce mixers; when Luke pressed finish the robot smiled, said thank you, and rolled away back to the place from which it came.



    Robots. AI. Space based nuclear weapons. Private sector launches from NASA launch sites. Private sector Moon projects. We have suddenly, yet chaotically (not slowly but surely) moved into a new era. The technocene. (my neologism. at least I thought of it just now.) OK. I looked it up. Though original in my head, several others got there ahead of me.

    What I mean by it. Our technoworld today surpasses almost everything I saw in science fiction movies as boy. Have you seen the robot do back flips? Or the new one that can learn from a video of a human doing a task, then improvise? Even, silly as it is, that delivery robot at Sushi Win? Properly programmed it could replace a wait staff. Order from your phone. Which Luke and I did. Wait a bit, here comes the food. These are not tomorrow. These are capacities that have made it into the retail level of robotics.

    AI. Can you say Kurzweil? The Singularity is near. I find it useful. Its capacity to summarize and simplify complex material amazes me. It’s fast, too. But again this is the AI that you can access through Bing or ChatbotGPT. It’s not the stuff that’s in development. Where serious arguments over sentience have become common place.

    Space based nuclear weapons. Banned fifty years ago it looks like Russia has a satellite killing nuclear weapon they could or have deployed. Of course, nobody commented on whether the U.S. has a similar capacity in waiting. Or, China.

    Private sector space. Colorado School of Mines offers an asteroid mining degree. Several private companies have attempted, all unsuccessfully so far, to land on the moon. The most recent launch happened early this morning. See video above. Remember the Coca-Cola in 2001? Or, Bruce Willis taking oil drilling technology to prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth in Armageddon?

    Others. Recent advances in nuclear fusion. The incredible space-based telescopes. CRISPR. Smart phones. Zoom and its ilk. Video phone calls! Self-driving cars. Electric vehicles. You can add your own items to this list.

    If there was an anthropocene, it will have been brief. Perhaps a hundred years when we burned dead ferns and dinosaurs to heat our homes, generate electricity, power our cars and airplanes. Fateful, perhaps apocalyptic yes but much like Hobbes describing human life: nasty, brutish, and short. Now we hope to rely on the wind and those giant windmills. Or the tides, or geothermal or Great Sol directly. Now the world shaping ideas and catastrophes are in the realms of computers, robotics, renewable energy.

    We have no idea how they will impact us or the planet we live on. Why? Because as humans, we go one step further than we can understand. That’s the genius of our species and its curse.


  • Days of Yore, Days of Chips

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Great Sol. The Middle East. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. The West Bank. Hezbollah. Lebanon. Iran. Iran proxies. Soldiers for the U.S. in the Middle East. The Ukraine. Russia. Yes, even Putin. The Black Sea. Brother Mark and Saudi sunrises. Mary and 9 foot long Monitor Lizards and 10 foot reticulated pythons. Monkeys, too. North Korea. South Korea. Japan. China.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A new friend, Gary

    One brief shining: When Tara came on my Zoom window for our Hebrew lesson, I saw large tropical Plants in the background, yet she lives, I know, on Kilimanjaro Drive, just off Jung Frau and the calendar still says January; I had my lesson beamed from Shadow Mountain to somewhere in Costa Rica, my halting Hebrew sent to a Spanish speaking country while I took my teacher’s notes in English spoken in Central America. Gosh.


    Our world is so much more complex than the world of my childhood. Only the telephone, the dial telephone, connected my small hometown of Alexandria, Indiana to friends and family in distant places. And the further away the more expensive. Remember person-to-person calls?

    Sure we got Ed Sullivan and the Lone Ranger and I Love Lucy on often finicky TV screens. And, yes, there were those moments of catastrophe: the death of John Kennedy, the shooting of Jack Ruby when the breathless commentators came on interrupting regular programming. Or, the moments of glory, especially the U.S. race to put a man on the Moon. One small step, one giant step.

    Those special televised experiences united us. We saw one news anchor, often Walter Cronkite, with one view of the facts, no MAGA, no chest thumping yellow backs. And when they faded away we went back to our lives in towns and cities and countrysides.

    Now I can take something so mundane as a Hebrew lesson in real time even though my teacher and her husband decided to fly to Costa Rica and work remotely from there for a few weeks. In a few minutes I’ll go online with my buddy Tom. He’ll be in his home near Lake Minnetonka and I’ll be here on Shadow Mountain. I follow the war in Israel through Israeli newspapers that I can access with the click of a mouse button.

    The oddity of all this connection by fiber and phone line and satellite, the irony of it, lies in its isolating effect. Go into any coffee shop anywhere and you’ll instantly know what I mean. Most of the people in the coffee shop will not be in conversation with a person near them, but they might be speaking to a friend on their phone. Laptops will be open. Phones in front of faces. An electronic rapture has lifted the souls in the room up, up, up into clouds of whizzing electrons and packets and i.p. addresses.

    We find news sources, information sources now that meet out preexisting biases. We silo our knowledge on web pages devoted to whatever interests us.

    No. I’m not a technophobe. I’m posting this, aren’t I? And no I’m not even really complaining. Our world is not worse, simply different and infinitely more complex, so much more connected than the quiet days of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. How has this changed us? God, I don’t know. But the impact is profound, that I do know.






  • A Life Full and Rich

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Irv. Tom. Marilyn. Susan. Driving. Hearing. Tested today. Lodgepole Home. Black Mountain. Genocide trial at the U.N. For Israel. America and allies strike the Houthis. WWIII? U.S. Nato. Ukraine. Israel. V. Iran. China. Russia. A post hegemon world. Lev. Metaphor. Rock. Water. Fire. Sound. Clouds. Mountains. Flowers. Death seeds. Those two Mule Deer Does.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Cooking

    One brief shining: Drew my knife through the salt pork dicing it into quarter inch cubes; it was almost all fat realized I knew nothing about salt pork, regretted that since I had committed myself to making Hoppin’ John with this as a major ingredient rendering the fat and making the salt pork crisp did not make it more edible, next time I’m using bacon.


    As if the world had insufficient chaos. Now the U.S. has bombed Yemen. Houthis say they will retaliate. What a mess. Ukraine at the northern pole, Israel/Hamas at the southern. This has all the potential of blowing up into a two front war for the U.S. Why wouldn’t China take advantage of a U.S. mired in the Middle East and Ukraine to invade Taiwan? What would the world do then?

    Oh by the way. One of, if not the, most fateful elections in the U.S. begins its primaries next week. Other nations too have important elections this year. 45 went off on the judge and the prosecutor at his fraud trial. Claims and cases piling up at the Supreme Court around him. The specter of his “base” rising up if he loses. The worse specter of his base rising up if he wins. OMG.

    How bout that Covid wave underway right now? The cold slumping down from the Arctic? Saw it will test the Texas power grid. Again. Geez, c’mon guys!

    All this distraction. We need a world united in the struggle to limit climate change. To adapt to the way it will ravage human civilization. Nope. We want to kill each other over religion and power. We know how to do that. We’re good at it.

    Then we can throw in the worst surge of anti-semitism in the U.S. since the ADL started tracking attacks in the 1970’s. Which parallels the rise of racist incidents occasioned by legitimization of white supremacy by the very man who apparently has a lock on the Republican party nomination for President.

    Oh the ways in which our country, our world has taken giant steps backward. Just in the past few years. It makes me sad. Angry? Yes, but I no longer know what to do with my anger.


    Shoot. I was gonna talk about visiting with Irv and having a dorm room conversation about the afterlife. Or, how I made Hoppin’ John. Or, how happy I was with Tom’s cardiology visit results.

    Well. I will say this. Got my new CD player. The one Odie recommended. Works great. Especially given that I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other one. Listening to Mozart. Ah. Put in another CD. Pablo Casals. Playing Bach’s six suites for cello. Many of them for solo cello. Remembered my love affair with cello music. Went into it as I once did at the Ordway. Letting the music run up and down my body, triggering emotions, sensations. This is art I can experience at home.

    That excited me. Music. Friends. Study. Reading. Cooking. Family. That all suddenly felt enough. Like my life didn’t need more. Was complete. I still feel that way. A life with a smaller ambit. Yet one full and rich. Yes. Also, why I don’t know what to do with my anger.







  • Too many Gabriels, or Jesus Opened My Door

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Stevinson Toyota. Leo. Blizzaks. Jesus/Gabriel. Ruby and her Snow shoes. A lowering of expectations. For me. Bright Sol. Watching dawn break over the Mountains on the way down the hill this morning. Lack of traffic. Agency. Taking care of business. Renailing a board on my house. Taking care of Leo. Changing tires. Making breakfast. You know. DD. Domestic duties.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Winter tires on Mountain roads

    One brief shining: Jesus opened my door and asked what were we doing today changing the oil and tires, check the front brakes, and I’m a waiter all right I’ll come find you when we’re done that’ll be fine and he did. Back home.


    Jesus’ first name is really Gabriel but there was a time when they had several Gabriels so he took up his middle name. It was on his name tag. But each time he texted me it came up Gabriel. I asked about it. No longer too many Gabriels, think I’ll go back to that now. This is Latino country out here. Too many Gabriels, but only one Jesus.

    Ruby needed a synthetic oil change and her Blizzaks. I sat in the waiting area in my usual spot well away from the everon television which people no longer watch. Cell phones and laptops.


    I first read an NYT article about Evergrande, the giant housing developer in China sinking below the default line. Lots of its execs are in jail now including the founder. Quite a mess since they took a third of an apartment’s price upfront, then failed to build millions of them. A lotta angry people. Including Xi Jinping. My son says China is much less worrying as an enemy when its economy is in crisis. Hope he’s right. Still, imagine all those poor aspiring home owners…


    This story has a Kate component. The next article I read I highly recommend: What It Takes to Save the Axolotl. The axolotl exhibits neoteny, that is, maintaining its juvenile form all its life. Not sure how that can be right. I mean if it maintains its juvenile form all its life that makes it its adult form, doesn’t it? Anyhow, a minor point.

    The axolotl thrived in the chinampas canals of an early Nahuatl people, the Xochimilcas. They had an agrarian Venice with plots of land bordered on all sides by water in canals. The chinampas had/have a fertility enriched by the soil dredged to build the canals. The chinamperos who farmed the chinampas grew vegetables, ate fish and axolotls from the canals.

    The axolotl has largely disappeared from Xochimilco, the area once outside of Mexico City where the chinampas way of life had been preserved. At least two different groups at different Mexican universities are working to restore the axolotl to its home environment. The one that interests me the most champions the original wetland farming methods of the chinamperos which used no pesticides or fertilizers. Pollution holds most of the blame for the axolotls no longer able to survive in the canals.

    Another part of the blame? Festive party boats, trajinera, that operate on the weekend. Kate and I visited Xochimilco in the mid-1990’s when she attended a meeting of the Physicians for Social Responsibility in Mexico City.

    It was so hot. I turned around while we waited for our trajinera to dock only to see Kate sitting on a large block of ice and fanning herself!

    It was a pleasant afternoon. Flat bottom boats came up close to us with mariachi bands, barbecued meat, and souvenirs. Music filled the air and the colorful trajineras floated up and down the canals of the ancient Xochimilca people. Not so good though for the axolotl. Which we didn’t even know were there.

    I’m going to adopt an axolotl through this website.


    Jesus/Gabriel called me. Ruby had finished her rounds of the tire changers and oil changers. Only thing left. Pay and go home.