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01 Feb

Fishing In-On My Mind

This is the introduction to a poetry collection called Fishing With The Famous. It is unlikely it will ever find a publisher, but the introduction is a good reminder that the 2017 fishing season is out there in front of us and most trouters will find anticipation building as we move from snow season to melt-down. Mostly I fish alone – physically speaking. Yet, more often than not I am accompanied metaphysically – in the astral plane — by someone most of us wouldn’t immediately equate with trout fishing. It started with imagining an outing with Mother Teresa and has gone on from there. Fishing alone is for a write a normal condition. The work we do doesn’t take place in committees or in groups. It can’t. Neither can fishing.  I fish when I writ,e and write when I fish. Here’s the first poem in the collection:

The late Mother Teresa

FISHING WITH THE FAMOUS #1

I ask Mother Teresa if I can
Call her Mother T,
And if she’s related to Mr. T,
Both known for their tenacity,
Wearing bling,
Twinkling their eyes, seeking spotlights
Etcetera.
Tiny as she is, I have to
Place her carefully in shallow riffles,
Her habit absorbing water like a sponge.
Naturally she wants to work the
Deepest, blackest holes,
She calls Calcutta-ish,
Wants to wade deep in the murk and mud,
Solve problems.
We catch no fish this day,
But coat the river with compassion.
(2002)

Fishing is not in the least bit an important activity – unless of course you are fishing for food to keep you and your family alive, in which case it becomes paramount. It’s the unimportance of fishing that creates it’s appeal, and ironically,  it’s not about actually catching fish; it’s about being out there in places where trout dwell, which are almost always remote and beautiful.

Personally I’ve never had one of those 100- or 200- fish days alleged by guzzlers in bars, fly shops and next to camp fires. At Six-and-Sixty I remain content catching and releasing seven-inch native brook trout from cramped and remote brooks and cricks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As an author I’ve gotten numerous offers from folks to fish with them, even to wing away to places in Canada, Alaska and South America – or even more exotic destinations. I have only accepted one time – from a modest fellow who just wanted to show me where his dad taught him to fish for trout. We went, and treated it like church.

My basic personality is that of a loner. I participated in all sorts of group and team activities over my life and enjoyed and learned from them all. But I like doing things alone, which may help explain the reading, writing, and painting.

Usually main fishing partner has been God, not He Of The High Above, but Loosianian God, the former professor and corporate flack, a genteel gentleman of the old south (Baton Rouge) who fishes with an intensity and focus that borders on the rage of a Berserker. Me, I’m a  butterfly-watching meanderman of rivers, and because of this I tend to see a lot more of my surroundings than God, but since he made all the stuff it probably doesn’t hold the same allure it holds for me.

Some people, those who consistently catch fish, manage to stay fully focused on the task at hand. Me, I lean toward fey and easily entertained/distracted. Fishless days, of which I have many, are neither failures, nor wastes of time.

Most “real” trout fishermen  probably prefer to fish alone, not out of some sort of psychological disability, but because we like to be in our own little world, whether it’s daydreaming or fishing with intent. As you get older though, you realize it makes more sense to have a partner nearby – to give searchers a place to start looking for your body. (HINT: Always paint the bottoms of your wading boots bright orange. If you float your hat and die, this will help the divers find you faster.)

But finding partners is not easy. A fishing partner is in many ways far more important than just a close friend, and God knows’ they’re really hard to find.  You generally need to know someone pretty well before you take them to a river with you, and especially well before you take them to your secret places. It helps if your fishing partners are geographically challenged and easily disoriented and lost. My main fishing partners over the years have been God,  Bob Linsenman,  Steve Burton, Freddy Lee. Big Bo & his son Dano, my sons Tim and Troy, Robochef, Reginald the Yank-Canuck, and most recently Jambe Longues. I’ve fished with others on occasion, but these five are the ones I know, trust, and can rely on.

Fishing with a partner is in a lot of ways a misleading phrase. Rarely do you actually fish WITH your partner. You drive to a river and you say, you wanna to upstream or down, and your partner picks and you take the opposite and you agree to meet back at the truck at o-dark o’clock.

The great thing about imagining partners in verse is that you don’t actually have to fish with them.

In any event, the imaginings are mine and like fishing of no great overarching social value other than to keep me out of bars.

Tight lines in your minds. Over.

28 Jan

Oklahoma City and Now: How Things Were 22 years A

It was April 19, 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed.  Before this heinous event I had invested several years in researching domestic terrorism and in writing a Novel I called The 47th Day. I had also been tracking terrorist groups  country by country ( and terrorist) events around the world since the 1970s.
Five day after Oklahoma City, April 24, 1995 I wrote the following, which I intended to send as as a VIEWPOINT to our local newspaper, The Kalamazoo Gazette. For reasons now long forgotten,  I never sent the piece. In looking for something else I ran across this and was struck by the fact that much of what I wrote back then, and the observations made still hold today. This is not an indictment of any particular political group. Rather it is a look at what seemed to me to be  steady, slowly spreading simmering  discontent in this country, especially the rural and fly-over parts. The Oklahoma City Bombing was neither a milestone, nor a watermark in the history of domestic terrorism, save perhaps for the magnitude of casualties.
The alleged perpetrators of the Oklahoma crime are being portrayed as a violent fringe of demented people with peculiar beliefs, and they certainly are, yet there some reason to believe that the “fringe” is not as small as the media and knee-jerk political  rants suggest. If the fringe is defined as those parts of society outside the “mainstream,”  those who feel isolated and alienated from the political infrastructure, the “fringe” may be considerably larger than it  appears at first blush. What this portends for the future, I don’t know.
Isolation and alienation occur when people feel ignored by political power, or persecuted by it, and see no logical way to obtain power except to seize it in the same way our Founding Fathers seized it more than two hundred years ago – violently and in open rebellion. That time however, the rebellion came from the money-men and the top and was pushed down to the poor to prosecute for their “betters.”
One might argue convincingly that the seeds of such rebellion are not only planted now, but growing slowly.
The massive national political move to the right in last fall’s elections (Conservative Republicans took 2 of 3 House and Senate seats) suggests a rejection of Big Government centered in Washington, D.C.  Our Capital is increasingly seen as distant, disinterested,  impotent, and uncaring. Those inside the Beltway have their insulated way of life and let the others eat cake.
The conditions of violence and economic abandonment in many of our rural or semi-rural and suburban regions suggest a rebellion against incumbent power and the status quo. The riots in L.A. surrounding the Rodney King incident were reminiscent of earlier outbreaks in Watts, Detroit and elsewhere where open warfare broke out against police officers and brought looting, and other illegal acts of desperate people. Our mistake is seeing such things in black and white terms. They are not. The country’s poor may not be rioting and killing cops, but it the cauldron is simmering and  people are not far from taking some kind of drastic action.
In virtually any part of rural and blue collar America, you will hear attitudes and opinions that range from healthy skepticism to vehement cynicism about the Federal government.  You will also hear nightmarish archetypes (modern myths) about life among The Other, stories with no basis in fact, yet as is true with all myths, accepted for their symbolic and archetypal power to differentiate  us from them.
Consider the immediate swing of public opinion against Arabs and Middle Easterners while the fires were still burning on the Federal Building ruins in Oklahoma City. We seem to be a nation of victims looking for other victims to replace us.
Middle Class whites are reputed to have led the conservative shift last fall; poor whites play only a marginal role in the shift because the poor (of any color) generally don’t express their dissatisfaction at the ballot box. Yet the sense of frustration with Washington felt by the Middle Class, is also felt by the poor, and perhaps more keenly because such folks have little ability to do anything about their circumstances Certain racial classes may lead the poverty roles percentagewise,  but in sheer numbers the poor in this country are white and most people, including our political and elected leaders, seem to pay little attention to this reality.
At the heart of the pro-gun movement there is an inherent belief that anti-gun foes are led by the government and, all logic aside, people wonder why they must disarm. The facts are in their favor. That is, most white people who own weapons do not commit murders or mayhem. Most people of any color and with any level of privately owned arms don’t commit such crimes. Weapon ownership is seen as a Constitutional right and adherents wonder, if they are not acting criminally, why the push to disarm them? It’s a reasonable question. Absent compelling answers, people tend to invent their own.
Our justice system is viewed as inept at best and a mass failure at the worst. Slick lawyers and incompetent judges make a pathetic stew. People with means (money and connections) get a different quality of “justice” than the poor, and never mind color.
The mass media, pursuing the commercial definition of news (that which attracts audience size attracts advertising revenue) give us a steady stream of stories of violence and outrage.The media formula for squeaky-wheel news is so well understood that infinitesimal groups with obscure grievances, real and imagined, can manage their way to major news coverage, creating, at least momentarily, perceptions not warranted by reality.
Churches in this, the most religious of nations, offer claims to the path to peace and love and salvation (some are also preaching that wealth is an indicator of  God’s light) but some churches act more like competing country and social clubs in a battle for members and their money. In the best traditions of institutional (not necessarily enlightened) write off non-believers  of competing groups as doomed in the sense of ever achieving salvation. Nationally known spiritual leaders, their feet of clay publicly cracked and revealed, go off to jail for bilking believers, yet beliefs continue because human beings need to believe in something, however imperfect. It’s no wonder that many of the cults and leftfield political groups in this country use the rhetoric of God and religion and organize along church-like lines.
Under such conditions, isolation and alienation seem inevitable.
What  will the view be of Washington when late baby boomers hit their mid to late sixties and find a sick and ailing Social Security or social net?
The economic trend lines among minorities of all hues and ethnic backgrounds,  especially the poor, the young, and the elderly, are not comforting.
Warfare, is said to the be the last option of diplomacy, but if the individual is a sovereign citizen, then violence is the last option of individuals trapped without hope.
Violent and extremist political organizations and pseudo-spiritual cults have always been with us, just as vigilantism has been a constant and ugly thread in American history.
My own Michigan has had its share,
In 1936, sixteen Michiganders were arrested as members of an organization called the Black Legion, though responsible for 57 assassinations and attempted killings over a half decade. The  national umbrella group for the Black Legion was the United Brotherhood of America, headquartered in Ohio. Members of the Black Legion here in Michigan were white, drawn from the ranks of the employed and unemployed, from blue collar ranks, members of government agencies, day laborers, police officers, firemen, hospital workers. This group operated in virtual anonymity for nearly a decade and was only accidentally uncovered here in the process of a murder investigation. The Black Legion controlled numerous front organizations with names that ought to strike a familiar chord: The Wolverine Republican League, the Bullet Club, The Wayne County Rifle and Pistol Club, the Malteca Club, Night Riders, and The Black Knights.
History, it seems to me, doesn’t repeat so much as it doesn’t change a  hell of a lot.
The so-called Patriot Movement spawned state militias, pledged their allegiance to the American flag and proclaimed themselves patriots in service to country – not, it should be noted, in service to government, but to country. The men and women I know who serve and have served, may do it out of patriotism, but feel no need to bellow it to the public or to get a bunch of attaboys and attagirls. It’s my prejudice, but I always suspect people and groups who self-name themselves patriots or claim similar titles. Whenever I have dug into such groups (militias, etc) I have found them invariably the opposite of what they purport to be.
In the collective American psyche, there seems to have developed a profound difference between government and country. Perhaps this has always been around, but it is a relatively recent discovery for me. The difference? A country is loved unconditionally (theoretically) but a government is never to be trusted.
I spent three or four years looking at this shaded part of America in preparation for writing my novel, which I  completed and sent to my editor at Random House. He sent it back some time later and said in essence, no can do, he couldn’t suspend  his disbelief long enough to accept the premise. He told me, “What you’ve written could not happen in this country.”
A few months later came Oklahoma City and that day I got a frantic call from that same editor. “What you wrote can be real. It is real.  Send that manuscript back to me ASAP!” which I did, and not long after, he died suddenly, and that was the end of that book.  Such are the vagaries of a publishing career.
In researching, studying and spending time with different groups I observe certain shared characteristics:
1) Race or ethnic identity is often a central issue. We hear mostly about white racists, but racism is not exclusive to one race;
2) Such groups often arise from a single individual with charisma and the ability to give voice and a compelling story to a perceived wrong shared by others;
3) Paranoia provides glue. Such groups view themselves as targets of various conspiracies. The government and its law enforcement arms are viewed as The Enemy;
4) Weapons and paramilitary training are not uncommon, even among groups claiming to be extensions or offshoots of traditional and conventional religions. If there’s a conspiracy to get you, you need to be able to defend yourself. Self-defense is a common line of rhetoric espoused simultaneously with a group’s  push to develop offensive capabilities. This is not surprising. Over  Fifty years of Cold War our Federal government behaved similarly;
5) The movements often are presented as quasi-religious with the inherent right to worship freely; more often, such groups take on the force of religion for their adherents and those who try to opt out are demonized, and worse;
6) The groups all espouse self-determination; that is, the right to do and think and believe what they want without external interference. Ironically, such groups seem to demand near-absolute obedience to the cause by all members;
7) The membership is drawn from the disaffected. But the disaffected can take in fairly large segments of our population, and this distinction is sometimes not apparent. There has been in the history of American hate groups quite a number of highly educated founders and leaders. To write off such groups as ignorant clods or uneducated fools is to invite disaster.   Smarts and education are different things. It often doesn’t take a genius to coalesce support; Hitler is a classic example of a sociopathic maniac who found an audience and used it to ruthlessly move to take power;
8) The founders of such groups tend to lead by the authoritarian model of top-down, often imposing a military style chain of command on their organizations. Such groups, as they grow, tend to disintegrate because the original leaders lack vision or persuasion power to take the group to the next level. Or the founder-leader refuses to share the vision or his power with fellow believers. This, on the surface, might seem to indicate that the ability of such groups to survive is small, but the reality is that while one group  may fail, adherents will move to like-minded groups, or found their own. In a society filled with increasing numbers of alienated and disaffected individuals, the recruiting field in quite fertile. Remember, a cancerous tumor is a collection of cells, not a single cell. The overall hate movement grows larger, not smaller.  Not single group dominates, but this is not to say that one day movements may coalesce and join forces and visions;
9) Because of some law enforcement excesses spawned during the Vietnam War, the Justice Department  has implemented controls that minimize the ability of law enforcement to identify, surveil and infiltrate such groups. Because the burden of common crime is in some places  so heavy, and police resources limited, hate groups often take a lower priority until an outrage changes the priority. Violent behavior is not exclusive to one part of our political range. It can come from the left or the right, and has;
10) Hate groups exist everywhere, in apparent small numbers if only active participants are counted,   but when cadres of philosophical and ideological sympathizers are considered, the  overall size of this fragmented movement is much, much larger than it might initially appear. The aggregate of sympathizers  is not at all insubstantial and the role of sympathizers in the  proliferation of underground and extremist organizations. In every conflict there are more sympathizers than participants and combatants; in our own American Revolution there is evidence that there were fewer rebels and sympathizers for rebellion,  than Americans loyal to Great Britain. This changed over time, but it began with the rebellion seated in a small portion of people. The power of small, committed groups to violently affect political and social change against unfavorable odds  must never be underestimated;
11) These groups invariably strike the chord of Constitutional rights and protection under the law at the same time they seek to deny others their Constitutionally guaranteed rights and protection; and,
12) Organizations disappear entirely, or go dormant and later re-emerge when conditions are deemed more favorable. As long as conditions which spawn such movements persist, such groups will be among us.
The dreadful crime in Oklahoma City should terrify and sadden us, but it should not have come as a surprise. The only real surprise is more tragedies of this kind have not happened before this.
The truth is that the government, for all its size and impressive might, is limited in its ability to keep us completely protected from all psychopathic elements of our society and others around the world. Even if President Clinton gets the legislative initiatives he wants to allow police agencies to increase their efforts, episodes like that in Oklahoma City  will no doubt be reduced, but they cannot be eliminated.
In Russia (aka the old USSR) citizens now lament the loss of domestic peace and stability under the Communists when there was virtually no crime. (Disinformation as much as reality).The Russians also had no freedoms. With true freedom comes the competition of ideas and beliefs and  frequent verbal sniping , criticism and complaints.  Sometimes such dissatisfaction turns to violent behavior.
President Clinton is right in calling for us to speak up in the face of hate rhetoric. But if  the wake of Oklahoma City creates a politically intimidating environment that will not allow all opinions, no matter how loathsome, to come forward into the light, we will all be the poorer for this. We already have seen in this country a powerful force coercing us toward what is called political correctness.  What is deemed “correct” is dictated and controlled by those in power. This is the major take-home of history.
Opposing groups attempt to control the story of what is and what has been, but suppress any and all opposing stories  or contentions.
Hate is like anaerobic bacteria  living lives in the ark and proliferating in the absence of oxygen. In our democracy, where we have always tended to put our faith in free speech, the way to defeat such pathogens is to expose them to light and oxygen, where they can be examined and rejected by the powerful collective good sense of the American people.
It won’t be easy. The battle will not ever be over, at least in our lifetimes.
15 Jan

Winter, the Creative Months

We’ve passed the Ides of January, which this year also fell on Friday, ergo a concern for all those afflicted with paraskevidekatriaphobia (from ????????? Paraskevi, Greek for Friday) or friggatriskaidekaphobia (after Frigg, the Norse goddess after whom Friday is named in English).

This is in some ways and in some years my favorite time, largely because we are currently without snow on the ground (no doubt a temporary condition) but every day of snow escaped is escaped and put behind us, a good place for it to be.

My Januaries, Februaries, and Marches, tend to be loaded with work of choice with little socializing or other time-wasting events. This is the time of year to see the lay of the land (literally) and likewise to have a good long look at the lay of one’s own internal turf.

Best of all, the hard-winter months are a fine time for serious reading and thinking. I read every day all year long, some days all day long, and I relish the time with the ideas, notions, and words of others. Much of what I read, I come to via serendipity, which is a nice path for discovery. As a regular reader of the London Review of Books I became been familiar with Alan Bennett, who’s seasonal diary features used to show up around the holidays or new year.  And some years ago I saw a picture called “The Madness of King George,” which I found entertaining and interesting. Turns out Mr. Bennett was screenwriter of that movie.  Then I found Writing Home (1994) and Untold Stories (2005) and dug in.   A.B is what I would call a clear writer, with an eye for detail and humor, a man who spends an inordinate amount of time plumbing his own psyche and history. Some of the two works cited above contain myriad material which is full of potential ideas for other scribblers.

For example, in a small funk after turning down an honorary degree at Oxford, Bennett wonders if he has “slightly made a fool of myself.” And he wonders “whether after more momentous refusals martyrs ever went to their deaths not in the strong confidence of virtue, but just feeling that they had somehow muffed it.”

This seems to me  a marvelous premise for a short story, a form that  A.B. does not seem  to be much interested in except as practiced by Kafka. But it’s  potentially a great idea for me and has gone into my short story idea book with a simple line or two about the basic plot. I never develop a short story beyond one or two sentences until I sit down to actually write the first draft and then I find out if there is adequate substance to make something happen. Obviously the short descriptions must bubble somewhere in my subconscious because almost always when I sit to write they come  flapping right up like eager  pats begging to be bagged with the trusty old Brazilian single-shot .20 gauge.  

Most short stories take me one to three days to write, not including typing. I write every draft longhand, shortstory or novel, no diff.   I approach each  short story with no notion of length and “let (as my editor and late pal  Joe Fox once advised) the story  have what it needs, and worry about editing later.”  I enjoy writing short fiction, and reading some  of it but there is so much out there now that is strange and indecipherable(okay, there undoubtedly is an age or generation gap)   that it’s difficult to find original voices.

In one of his entries,  A.B. opines it may be a good thing God has no name, otherwise in this increasingly informalizing fragmenting de-globalizing world (let’s call it feckless antidignifarianism, my term)  he might very well be tagged Dave. This made me smile and brought forth the voice of Hal the Computer from 2001 A Space Odyssey, with Hal calling in his (it’s) dulcet tones to Dave the astronaut. No doubt someone has massaged this idea before but that should never be a barrier to one’s own efforts because every writer, like every human is unique and finally all that matters is whether one can make the idea work, or not. The only test is on paper and all chat-talk and mind-wandering is meaningless. And yes, yes this too has gone into the idea book. (Remember, there are only two plots: someone goes on a trip; a stranger comes to town.)

Writing is about doing the work, not  yakking and theorizing about doing the work.

Recently being on my butt with pneumonia I found it impossible to get any real work done and instead contented myself with inventories and end-of-year, start-of-year chores and tasks. One of these involved updating my inventory of short stories where I found I had 52 stories written, either by hand or partially typed, and another 35 with the two-line plots sitting there calling my name.

As my lungs cleared, I dove into the short stories, attempting to get them all typed and clean (“fair copy” to Shakespeare and his lot) so I can revise the dickens out of them (if needed; sometimes there’s no revising needed at all).

AB writes somewhere, “Its like cutting a play, the zeal and pleasure of finding a cut far exceeding the joy of writing the stuff in the first place.” All writers will “get this,” even me, though in the revising world of putter-inners and taker-outers, I far more of a putter-inner than the other. Still, I can cold-bloodedly kill 100-200 pages of  text writeen over months, without a second thought.

There are several clusters of stories, some  may comprise a start on a third collection of Woods Cop Stories.  The first two  published collections were called, Hard Ground (2013)  and Harder Ground (2015), each of these containing 27-29 original stories. Right now I have 20 new  stories done, but for a variety of reasons,  I’m not ready to put them into a collection quite yet.

There also seems to be a cluster of stories about Yoopers and their lives, a strange collection of tales in a place where white dirt buries most life for 7-8 months a year. This is where most of my concentration is at the moment, and where I expect it will remain, no title in mind yet, though I favor the title of one of the stories in the collection for the entire collection, “Hearts of Wolves.”

 

And there are other stories, difficult to categorize, like one I call “Bringing Home Sheep,” about a Vietnam veteran and an Australian WW2 vet who go to Camp Pendleton looking for company employees who escaped the fall of Vietnam and have been brought here so they can restart their lives.

Other outside a category stories include: “Standardized Testing,” about a man who worked for H.Ross Perot for 20 years, been a valued, well paid employee. On Friday he gets the highest performance rating in his department. Come, Monday the company gets rid of the whole department and he is forced to find other work, in this case with a  Texas company that scores standardized student tests used to qualify students for  university, scholarships, etc.

There is also a story called “An Old Gray Packard,” about a black man who serves as a hangman for the Klan, just as his father did.

And the story “Last Man Out,”  of a tailgunnerm whose B-24 Liberator  has an engine fire near the Porcupine Mountains and the ten-man crew is forced to bail out where the snowfall is  more than 300 inches. It is late April, a  long month from real spring even starting but bears are already out of their dens this year. He lands in a tree and therein begins the tale.

And there is “St. Certain’s F.C.,” the story of Yooper gravediggers.

 “The Pool Hall Ain’t Open Weekends,” isset in Mississippi in the 50s or 60s.

Finally there is a short story taken from a chapter of the unpublished novel Brown Ball. It is called  “El Cabra,” which means the goat. The story begins with the line, “He is called the Goat for how he smells.”

Where does all this come from? Reading others and seeing possibilities where others might not have seen them.

Most short story writers, especially early in their careers are not lucky enough to have their material in collections of their own. Some do end up in anthologies, which is good, but most get published one little magazine at a time until they build up a sufficient following that a publisher usually a university publisher decides to commit to a collection.  Short stories and essays are notorious poor sellers in commercial markets. The collection then, is a holy grail, and like all holy grails, damn hard to get to. There seems to be one other route to a collection, this for someone who had just died or is about to and who has been a long-time slogger, much admired, or even a lion, in which case publishers seem to be drawn to collections by writers in these categories.

The most difficult thing to explain to non-writers is the importance of time to writing. It has to be in chunks, four to 8 hours or more at a dime, multiple days on end, the sort of immersion in which you become the work and the work becomes you and you hardly notice when you have eaten, or what, or care.  These periods it is critical to have a supportive spouse who understands this whole immersion thing (which some non-artists) mistake for drowning or wandering.

I’ve just regretfully turned down an invite to speak at Beaulah where I have a large contingent of fans, but most of these speaking gigs come up in summer when we are Baraga County and 8-10 hour drives back below the bridge. I am still not convinced of the value of writers yakking at readers, though these affairs are always nice with multitudes of fine folks. Last year I turned down a dozen offers during the summer season. I never do the same presentation twice, which means it takes me 4-5 days to prep a new one, then two days of travel, including an overnight, which now puts each commitment at a week, roughly and f or a dozen of them, we are talking about 12 weeks out of an already too damn- short-summer during which I chase brook trout and do site-scouting for new stories. Add to this most libraries don’t have budge to pay fees and the whole thing, while nice for egos, is practically a waste of time for the writer. Few authors have publishers who underwrite such activities and thus the fees are important for writers who actually make a living off their wits and writing. I always laugh when I get a note saying, “We are a small library with a small budget.” I always reply “And I am a small writer with an even smaller budget.” In summer I’m more likely to visit places in the UP or northern Wisconsin, but I am wont to drive below the bridge until I have to in November.

But this is January, the reading and writing are good, and I tend to put all else out of my mind. I did manage to get in a splurge of drawing painting over the month of December, the 24th canvas now perched and roughed in on my easel.  I hope to get to that this week.

For the record, I’m awake every morning at 4 and working until 1en or noon, then a short nap and up for lunch, a couple of hours of reading, and  back to writing or painting into late afternoon or early evening. Evenings I read until 11 or so, then to bed. I have lived most of my life on 5 hours or so of sleep with the occasional sleep-in. Not every author works this way, nor should they, but every one of them is beset by eaters of time. One of my author friends has taken a job teaching in  in another state this winter so they can find time to write uninterrupted every day. If here, they would be deluged by the professional writing community, neighbors,  friends and family, who have no understanding of the demands on the author’s time. I always advise young writers or those just starting out to be selfish with your time. If not, someone else will use it and nothing will get done.

Enough blather. Time to go find breakfast and a Sunday New York Times. Have a fine week. Over

09 Jan

Loogieless and Stumbling Into the New Year

We’ve acquired a virus here, both of us, and one of  us has morphed into pneumonia.
The cacophony here is  an endless hack-fest of partridges flumping their wings for romantic attraction, a sound that never ends. I feel like I’ve been in a nine-day torso slug fest, like Sylvester Stallone in his meat locker, talking sore, and as this thing dragged on  as I learned earlier this year, when I’m sick, I get  zilchwork done  as I tend to sit or lay like a slug in one place, hacking and taking up space, my gyroscope collapsed like an exoskeleton on my supine bod. Lonnie seems to power through with verve, no surprise, women  bring stronger. My brain seems to be lost in a state of inequilibrium where thoughts pass through but the grabber device  won’t catch hold. Thinking so slow I can almost watch my brain work, but if I give into this, it puts me to sleep, which under normal circumstances is not particularly fast. It reminds me how after my stoke in 1998 I had to revise THE SNOWFLY manuscript post hospitalization, and my brain then raced and skipped around like a three-legged puppy on his first outside run, and I had to be watched back then  so I didn’t topple out of my computer chair. (I never fell, but there were close calls.)
This thing is well,  “ virusy,” a nonspecific form of a general malaise,  a bit like the gall bladder  extraction of this past fall, when I lay in bed like a great silent schlub and spent my  time with absolutely no personal or professional  agenda.
This time I’ve at least been able to contemplate certain important questions, such as how it is that I never developed the adolescence male skill for building up and expelling loogies? You’d think our evolving human genome would have made sure we all had this ability, but this seems wishful thinking  on my part.
I found myself sort of staring stupid-headedly at the TV. Has it hit any of you how much Paul Ryan is a Charlie Chickenhawk lookalike? I had the opportunity to hear Nancy Pelosi’s laugh, which sounded like concertina wire being scraped without enthusiasm down a stretch of chalkboard. Egad! No wonder all of my conservative pals cannot stand the sight of  her( With sight, comes chance of hearing. Not that fluffy laugh!)  I also heard Speaker Ryan flub his words with “I’ll be rearry blief.” He even  flashed a grinned (or did I imagine this?) seemingly to acknowledge the stumble ( “although it  occurred to me later that he might have had a bet with one of his Wisconsin pals, (“hey, Lumppo,  watch me pull this off). It was an odd moment.
Had to visit my physician, an old Navy Doc from up International Falls Minnesota way. He wrote me a couple of scrips for something his nurse called  an antibiotic T-Bomb or Z-Bomb and some codeine-laced cough syrup
ur house has turned into a gathering place for sick seals  and Walri learning to bark, a sort of hack-hackland. Sometimes Shaksper gives up, and slinks away to find a cone of silence. 
Congress is back in session. Heard one of the august representatives proclaim this morning they’d been sworn in on Tuesday,  “so we’ve only been back three days.”  Okay, the  cipeherin here done throwed me a tad? Tuesday until today is 7 days. Decrease the weekend that makes 5 days. Yet he said three days. How can we possibly communicate with such people?
Couple of new NPR show revamps this year. Diane Rehm, possibly one of the best  interviewers ever, and on the air for something like 37 years has retired her on air show, and has been replaced by one  Joshua Johnston, whose new program is called A-1, which refers to the First Amendment. Meanwhile the mystical Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion had been on the air since 1974  has retired and turned over the helm of the ship  mandolinist, Macarthur Grant winner Chris Thiele.  We couldn’t get Diane Rehm in da yoop, so no loss here.  Mr. Johnson is of the wide-eyed, pert, and  instant jacked-up age of  hair-standing enthusiasm but not in the least bit compelling then the juice is gone. We used to use Garrison and the PHC for a weekly event  even up there, old fashioned radio in an old fashioned place. That dog won’t hunt this year.
Congress is in session. Let the Bitepartisanship commence.
Over.
02 Jan

2016 ANIMAL COUNT (Includes MI and Fla)

2016 was not a great year for wildlife watching, but here are the results:

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds (86,071)

Razzie (5,942)

Pine Siskin (3,328)

Rosebreasted  Grosbeak (1,850)

Eastern Grosbeak (1,732)

Sandhill Crane (1,363)

Blue Jay (1,259)

Cliff Swallows (1,125)

Downy Woodpecker (1,035)

Nuthatch (915)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (799)

Hairy Woodpecker (777)

Redbelly Woodpecker (762)

Northern Flicker (521)

Pine Warbler (267)
Chickadee (241)

Deer (228)

Chipping Sparrow (203)

Carolina Wren (156)

Dead Deer (147)

Turkey (147)

Bald Eagle (128)

Brown Pelican (112)

Osprey (78)

Snow Bunting (Snowbird) (64)

Redtail Hawk (67)

Great Egret (61)

Mourning Dove (59)

Snowy Egret (47)

White Ibis (35)

Fox (1/47)

Ovenbird (44)

Pileated Woodpecker (42)

Yellowbelly Sapsucker (40)

Black Skimmer (40)

Spotted Plover (40)

Loon (28)

Oriole (27)

Yellow-Rump Warbler (27)

Skunk (26)

Porcupine (24)

Kingfisher (23)

Great Blue Heron (25)

Black-Throated Green Warbler (20)

Willet (20)

American Restart (19)

Nighthawk (19)

Pats (18)

Cedar Waxwing (16)

Rabbit (15)

Coopers Hawk (14)

Turtles (14)

Cowbird (19)

 Blooey (18)

Greater Yellowlegs (14)

Chipping Sparrow (13)

Wood Stork (13)

Palm Warbler (12)

Rosette Spoonbill (11)

Sora (11)

House Sparrow (10)

Barred Owl (10)

Rock Pigeon (10)

White Pelican (9)

Snake (9)

Black Cormorants (9)

Snowy Plover (8)

Red-Neck Grebe (8)

Tree Swallow (8)

Dolphins (8)

Merlin (7)

Black Vulture (7)

Brown Thrasher (6)

Woodchuck (5)

Lizards (5)

Miscellaneous Hawk (5)

Northern Mockingbird (5)

Ruddy Turnstone (5)

Semipalmated Plover (5)

Anhinga (4)

Whitethroat Sparrow (4)

Broadwing Hawk (4)

Sanderling (3)

Spotted Piper (3)

Mottled Duck (3)

Snow Geese (3)

Wood Duck (3)

Great Horned Owl (3)

Little Blue Heron (3)

Northern Pintail (3)

Sprucies (3)

Redheaded Woodpecker (3)

Muskrat (3)

Woodcock (3)

Titmouse (3)

Limpken (3)

Forster Tern (2)

Redtail Looon (2)

N Northern Harrier (2)

Pied Bill Grebe (2)

Catbird (2)

Golden Eagle (2)

Humoth (2)

Northern Shrike (2)

Solitary Sandpiper (2)

Bear (1/4)

Moose (0/1)

Longear Owl (1)

Wolf (2/5))

Coyote (1/1)

Stilted sandpiper (1)

White-Throated Green Warbler (1)

Brewer’s Blackbird (1)

Eastern Kingbird (1)

House Wren (1)

Shortbill Dowatcher (1)

Peregrine Falcon (1)

Canvasback (1)

Lesser Scaup (1)

Northern Waterthrush (1)

Blackbelly Plover (1)

Alder Flycatcher (1)

Northern Roughwing Swallow (1)

Kestrel (1)

Common Moorhen (1)

Rufous Hummingbird (1)

White-rump Sparrow (1)

White-crown Sparrow (1)

Indigo Bunting (1)

Great Crested Flycatcher (1)

Least Sandpiper (1)

Armadillo (1)

31 Dec

2016 Reading List

Lots of good stuff here, some for enjoyment, some for edification. A lot of the list is in pursuit of information needed to think through certain books attempts, e.g. BROWN BALL (Latinos in the U.S.,  and baseball)  and FIVE GOLD RINGS (Shakespeare and his times, and World War II in Britain)

1) A.N.Wilson. The Elizabethans. (2011) [NF]

2) Penelope Lively. Dancing Fish and Ammonites. (2013) [NF]

3) Charlie Lovett. The Bookman’s Tale. (2013) [FICT]

4) John Colville. The Fringes of Power. 10 Downing Street Diaries, 1939-1955. (1985) [NF]

5) Charles Clement Walker. John Heminge and Henry Condell Friends and Fello-Actors of Shakespeare and What the World Owes. (1896/2015) [NF]

6) Stephen E. Ambrose. The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys: The Men of World War II. (1998) [NF]

7) Stephen E. Ambrose. The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany. (2001) [NF]

8)  Stephen E. Ambrose. Citizen Soldiers; The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany; June 7,1944- May 7, 1945. (1997) [NF]

9) Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein. How Dogs Work. (2015) [NF]

10) Ralph Steadman. A Triography: The Balletic Art of Gavin Twinge. (2002)

11) Randolph S.Churchill. Winston S. Churchill, Youth,1874-1900. (1966) [NF

12) Kenneth Tynan. He That Plays The King: A View of the Theatre.(1950) [NF]

13) Kenneth Tynan. The Sound of Two Hands Clapping. (1975) [NF]

14) Kenneth Tynan. Profiles. (1989) [NF]

15) Kathleen Tynan, Ed. Kenneth Tynan: Letters. (1994) [NF]

16) Walter Raleigh. Johnson on Shakespeare: Essays and Notes, Selected, And Set Forth. (1765/1908) [NF]

17) George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. (1980/2003) [NF]

18) Alex Danchev and Daniel Todman. WAR DIARIES: 1939-1945 Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke.(2002) [NF]

19) Eric Rasmussen. The Shakespeare Theft: In Search of the First Folios (2011) [NF]

20) John Lahr, Ed. The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan. (2001) [NF]

21) Robert Harris. Dictator. (2016) [FICT]

22) William Manchester and Paul Reid. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 (2013) [NF]

23) Clark Davis. It Starts With Trouble: William Goyen and the Life of Writing.(2015) [NF]

23) Phillip DePoy. The Tao and the Bard: A Conversation. (2013) [NF]

24) Maria Konnikova. Master-Mind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes. (2013) [NF]

25) Mary Beard. S.P.O.R: A History of Anxient Rome (2015) [NF]

26) Jan Jarboe Russell. The Train To Crystal City (2015) [NF]

27) Gary Wills. Make Make-Believe Real: Politics as Theater in Shakespeare’s World (2014) [NF]

28) Thomas Babington Macaule. Lays of Ancient War. (2016/1842) [NF]

29) Vaclav Havel. The Memorandum. (1965) [DRAMA]

30) Tom Stoppard. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. (1967) [DRAMA]

31) Bio Notes/ A, Spiers,  Preface/ M. Montagu. (Francis) Bacon’s Essays. (1884) [NF]

32) Tobias Wolf. In Pharoah’s Army; Memories of the Lost War. (1994) [NF]

33) Logan Pearsall Smith. Unforgotten Years (1938) [NF]

34) David Searcy. Share and Wonder Essays. (2016) [NF]

35) Fiona Peters, Rebecca Stewart, Eds. Antiheroes (2010/2016) [NF]

36) Maria Konnikova. The Confidence Game. Why We Fall For It…Every Time. (2016) [NF]

37) Garry Wills. Making Make-Believe Real; Politics as Theater in Shakespeare’s Time. (2014) [NF]

38) Reza Aslan. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. (2014) [NF]

39) Elizabeth Kolbert. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. (2014) [NF

40) Machu Kaku. The Future of the Mind; The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind. (2014) [NF]

41) William Shakespeare. Henry IV, Part Two. [DRAMA]

42) E. Phillips Oppenheim. The Pool of Memories. (1941) [NF]

43) Page Stegner, Ed. The Selected Letters of Wallace Stegner. (2007) [NF]

44) David Hajdu. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. (2008) [NF]

45) Bob Hicok. Elegy Owed. (2013) [POETRY]

46) Jane Hirshfield. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays by Jane Hirshfield. (1998) [NF-Essays]

47) J. Payne Collier & Thomas Heywood. The Dramatic Works Of Thomas Heywood With A Life of the Poet, And Remarks On His Writings, Vol 1: The First And Second Parts Of The Fair Maid Of The West: Or, A Girl Worth Gold. Two Comedies. (1850) [NF & Drama]

48) Wallace Stevens. The Necessary Angel; Essays on Reality and Imagination. (1942) [NF]

49) Lawrence Durrell. Bitter Lemons (Of Cyprus). (1957) [NF]

50) John McIntyre, Ed. Memorable Days: The Selected Letters of James Salter and Robert Phelps. (2010) [NF]

51) George Steiner. Language & Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman. (1970) [NF Essays]

52) Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Castle To Castle. (1968)

53) Joseph O’Brien, Ed. Eyes That Pour Forth and Other Stories. (2014) [SS]

54) Willie Morris. James Jones;A Friendship. (1978) [NF]

55) Tom Stanton. Terror in the City of Champions;Murder, Baseball, And The Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit. Lyons Press,. (2016) [NF]

56) Wallace Stegner. On Teaching and Writing Fiction. (2002) [NF

57) Michael Delp. Lying in the River’s Dark Bed: The Confluence of The Deadman and the Mad Angler. (2016) [Poetry]

58) E.M. Forster. Aspects of the Novel. (1927) [NF]

59) David Fraser. Wars and Shadows: Memoirs of General Sir David Fraser. (2002) [NF]

60) James Wood. The Nearest Thing To Life. (2015) [NF]

61) David Foster Wallace. Consider The Lobster And Other Essays. (2007) [NF]

62) George Orwell. A Collection of Essays. (1981) [NF]

63) J.L. Austin. Philosophical Papers. (3rd Ed) (1979) [NF]

64) Nathalie Babe, Ed. Cynthia Ozick, Intro. The Complete Works of Isaac Babel.(2005) [NF

65) J.L.Austin. How To Do Things With Words. (1955) [NF]

66) Ann Powers. Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America. (2000) [NF]

67) Andy Saunders. Battle of Britain: July to October 1940: RAF Operations Manual. (2015 [NF]

68) Natalie Angier. The Canon. (2007) [NF]

69) Neal Stephenson. Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing. (2012) [NF]

70) Kevin Wolf. The Homeplace (2016) [Uncorrected Proof for blurb) [FICT]

71) Albert Camus. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. (1955) [ESSAYS]

72) A.O. Scott. Better Living Through Criticism: How To Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. (2016) [NF]

73) John LeCarre. A Murder of Quality. (1962) [FICT]

74) Tim Clayton and Phil Craig. Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain. (1999) [NF]

75) Christopher Bergstrom. The Battle of Britain: An Epic Conflict Revisited. (2014) [NF]

76) Richard Hough and Denis Richards. The Battle of Britain: The Greatest Air Battle of World War II. (1989) [NF]

77) The National Trust. Chartwell. (1992) [NF]

78) Tom Hickham. Churchill’s Bodyguard. The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thompson. (2005) [NF]

79) William F. and Elizabeth S. Friedman. The Shakesperian Ciphers Examined. (1957) [NF]

80) Andy Saunders. Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. (2014) [NF]

81) Jane Gallop. The Deaths of The Author. Reading and Writing in Time. (2011)

82) J.L. Austin. How To Do Things With Words.(1955) [NF]

83) Ray Bradbury. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon From the Cave, Too Far From the Stars. (2006) [NF]

84) Wayne C. Booth. The Rhetoric of Fiction. (1983) [NF]

85) Lilly Fischer Hellmann. Jumpcut. (2016) [FICT]

86) Peter Turchi. Maps of the Imagination:The Writer As Cartographer. (2004) [NF]

87) Andy Saunders. Luftwaffe Bombers in the Blitz 1940-1941.(2015) [NF]

88) David Richarde. The Yellow Dog River: Magical Dialog of a Woodland Stream. (1997)

89) William Grange. Hitler Laughing: Comedy in The Third Reich. (2006) [NF]

90) Stephen Marche. How Shakespeare Changed Everything. (2012) [NF}

91) Roy Porter. London: A Social History. (1994) [NF}

92) E. Foley and B. Coates. Shakespeare- Basics for Grown-Ups: Everything You Need to Know About the Bard. (2014) [NF]

93) F.E. Halliday. A Shakespeare Companion. (1964) [NF]

94) Jacopo Della Quercia. License to Quill. (2015) [F]

95) Andy Saunders. Finding the Foe: Outstanding Luftwaffe Mysteries of the Battle of Britain and Beyond Investigated and Solved. (2010)

96) Rebecca Rovit. The Jewish Kulturbund Theater Company in Nazi Berlin. (2012)

97) John London, Ed. Theater Under the Nazis. (2000)

98) John Harris and Richard Wilbourn. Rudolf Hess: A New Technical Analysis of the Hess Flight, May 1941. (2014)

99) John Stow. A Survey of London. (1598) [NF]

100) Donovan Bixley. Much Ado About Shakespeare. (2015) [Lit Picture Book]

101) Ann Stalcup. On The Home Front: Growing Up in Wartime England. (1998) [NF]

102) Peter De Jong. Dornier Do 24 Units. (2015) [NF]

103) Pauline Kiernan. Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare’s Most Outrageous Sexual Puns. (2008) [NF]

104) Andy Saunders. Arrival of Eagles: Luftwaffe Landings in Britain 1939-1945. (2014) [NF]

105) Maureen Walker. A Family in Wartime: How the Second World War Shape the Lives of a Generation. (2012) [NF]

106) Trout Lake Women’s Club. Tales & Trails of Tro-La-Oz-Ken. (1976) [NF]

107) Seamus Heaney. Beowolf: A New Verse Translation. Bilingual Ed. (2000) [NF]

108) Paul French. Midnight in Peking. (2013) [NF]

109) John Le Carre. Absolute Brothers (2003) [FICT]

110) Michael A. McDonnell. Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America. (2015) [NF]

111) John Le Carre. A Small Town in Germany. (1968) [FICT]

112) Erich Maria Remarque. All Quiet on The Western Front. (1929) [FICT]

113) Stanley Wells. William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction. (2015) [NF]

114) James Welch. Winter in the Blood. (1974) [FICT]

115) John Le Carre. The Little Drummer Girl. (1983) [FICT]

116) John Le Carre. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)

117) John Le Carre. Smiley’s People (1979) [FICT]

118) Thomas A. Kempis. Of The Immitation of Christ: Four Books. (1890) [NF]

119) Frontis Lost. Book of Psalms (1892) [NF]

120) John Le Carre . Our Game (1995) [FICT]

121) John LeCarre. The Little Drummer Girl (1983) [FICT]

122) Earl L. Doyle and Ruth B. MacFarlane. The History of Pequaming. (1998)

123) Charles Olson. Selected Writings. (1950-1966) [ESSAYS]

124) Henry Kisor. Tracking the Beast. (2016) [FICT]

125) Virginia Woolf. Orlando. (1928) [FICT]

126) John Burdett. Bangkok Tattoo. (2005) [FICT]

127) Peter Pouncey. Rules For Old Men Waiting. (2005) [FICT]

128) D. Nichol Smith. Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare. (1903)

129) William Shakespeare. JHP Pafford, Ed.  The Winters Tale. (1607/1963) [DRAMA]

130) Joseph Heywood. Ice Hunter. (2001) [FICT]

131) Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield. Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism, Second Edition (1994) [Essays: NF]

132) Virginia Woolf. Women and Writing. (1979) [ESSAYS]

133) Virginia Woolf. The Death of the Moth and Other Essays. (1942) [ESSAYS]

134) Susannah Carson, Forward by Harold Bloom. Living With Shakespeare (2013) [ESSAYS]

135) David N. Cassuto. Cold Running River. (1994) [NF]

136) Virginia Woolf. The London Scene: Six Essays on London Life. (1975/1033) [ESSAYS]

137) John LeCarre.The Secret Pilgrim. (1990) [FICT]

138) Ivo Kamps, Ed. Materialist Shakespeare: A History. (1995) [NF]

139) Thomas Kemp. The Life and Genius of Shakespeare. (1864) [NF]

140) William Goyen. The House of Breath. (1950) [FICT]

141) Alastair Pennycook. Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places. (2012) [NF]

142) Enda Duffy, Ed. The Best Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield. (2010) [SS]

143) William Shakespeare. Love’s Labor Lost. (1598) [DRAMA]

144) William Manchester. A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of An Age. (1993) [NF]

145) Cyril Connolly. Enemies of Promise and Other Essays: An Autobiography of Ideas. (1960) [Essays]

146) Robert J. Koester. Lost Person Behavior: A Search and Rescue Guide On Where to Look – for Land, Air and Water. (2008) [NF]

147) John Betjeman. Ghastly Good Taste, Or a Depressing Story of the Rise and Fall of English Architecture: For the First Time Revised With Annotations by The Author.(1933) [NF]

148) John Steinbeck. Once There Was A War. (1943/1958) [NF]

149) Phillip Kerr. The Other Side of Silence. (2016) [FICT]

150) D.Nichol Smith. Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare. (1903) [Essays]

151) Kenny Wayne Fields. The Rescue of Streetcar 304: A Navy Pilot’s Forty Hours on the Run in Laos. (2007) [NF]

152) James Bird. The Changing Worlds of Geography: A Critical Guide to Concepts and Methods. (1989) [NF]

153) Matthew Gavin Frank. Barolo. (2010) [NF]

154) Fernand Braudel. On History. (1980) [NF]

155) John Steinbeck. In Dubious Battle. (1936) [FICT]

156) Duff Cooper. Sergeant Shakespeare. (1950) [NF]

157) Bob & Brian Tovey. The Last English Poachers. (2015) [NF]

158) Alexander G. Ruthven. Naturalist in Two Worlds: Random Recollections of a University President. (1963) [NF]

159) George A. Corrigan. L.G. Sorden, Ed. Calked Boots and Cant Hooks.(1976) [NF]

160) Heino A. “Hap” Puotinen. Bull Fight in the Sauna, and Other Finnish Dialect Verses.  (PUB DATE UNKNOWN] [POETRY]

161) Daniel Putnam. A History of Michigan State Normal School (Now Normal College) 1849-1899 (1899) [NF]

162) Thomas Kenny. The Life and Genius of Shakespeare. (1864) [NF]

163) Edward Gibbon.  The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II (395 AD – 1185 AD) ( 1781) [NF]

164) Max Hastings, Ed. The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes. (1985) [NF]

165) Bob Linsenmann and Steve Nevala. Michigan Trout Streams: A Fly-Angler’s Guide. (1993) [NF]

166) Jon L. Saari. Black Ties and Miner’s Boots: Inventing Finnish-American Philanthropy: A History of the Finlandia Foundation National, 1953-2003 (2003) [NF]

167) Christine Johnson et al, Eds. Listen to Me: An Anthology of Upper Peninsula High School Writing. (1976) [FICT & POETRY]

168) Lou Ellyn Helman & Maria Vezzetti Matson. Gelsomina’s Story of Caesar Lucchesti: A True Tale of Italian Immigrants. (2011) [NF]

169) Myrtle Barrette. View From My Window. (PUB DATE UNKN) [ESSAYS, NEWSPAPER COLUMNS]

170) Frank R. Bartol. A Season of Benign Neglect and Other Essays. (1992) [Essays]

171) Russell M. Magnaghi, Compiler. A Sense of Time:The Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University. (1999) [NF]

172) Anton Chekov. The Stories of Anton Chekov. (1932) [SS]

173) James Joyce. A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man. (1916/1944) [FICT]

174) Emma Smith. Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four Centuries of An Iconic Book. (2016) [NF]

175) Wyndham Lewis, Seamus Cooney Ed. Men Without Art. (1934/1964/1991) [NF]

176) Wyndham Lewis, Paul Edwards Ed. Wyndham Lewis: Creatures of Habit and Creatures of Change: Essasy on Art, Literature, and Society, 1914-1956. (1989) [Essays]

177) Jane Piirto. A Location in the Upper Peninsula. (1994) [Essays,Poetry,SS]

178) Christopher Bram. The Art of History: Unlocking the Past in Fiction and Nonfiction. (2016) [NF]

179) Jane Hirschfield. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry: Essays by Jane Hirschfield. (1998) [ESSAYS]

180) Montagu. The Anatomy of Swearing. (1967) [NF]

181) Rick Yancey. The 5th Wave (2013) [FICT]

182) Cyril Connolly. The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Polinures. (1940/1981) [ESSAYS]

183) Aldous Huxley. Chrome Yellow. (UNK) [FICT]

184) Lady Montagu. Letters of the Right Honourable Lady M-Y W-Y M-R- Written During her Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa to Persons of Distinction, Men of Letters, Etc in Different Parts of Europe. (1724) [NF]

185) Ben H. Winters. Underground Airlines. (2016) [FICT]

186) Wyndham Lewis; Seamus Cooney, Ed. Men Without Art (1934/1987) [ESSAYS]

187) George Beaton. Jack Robinson (1936) [FICT]

188) J. Todd Scott. The Far Empty. (2016) [FICT]

189) Francis Bacon. The Works of Francis Bacon: The Wisdom of the Ancients and Other Essays. (1932) [ESSAYS]

190) Honore de Balzac. The Works of Honore de Balzac: Novelettes. (1926) [FICT]

191) Gustave Flaubert. The Works of Gustave Flaubert: One Volume Edition. (1904) [FICT]

192) Tettu Leney. Complete Finnish (1993/2010) [NF]

193) Heino A. “Hap” Puotinen. Bull Fight in the Sauna and Other Finnish Dialect  Verses. (Date UNK) [POETRY]

194) Clive Fisher. Cyril Connally: The Life and Times of England’s Most Controversial Literary Critic. (1995) (NF)

195) Percy Melville Thornton. Harrow School and Its Surroundings. (Pre-1923)

196) Emma Smith. Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four Centuries of An Iconic Book. (2016) [NF]

197) Thomas Kenny. The Life and Genius of Shakespeare. (1864) [NF]

198) Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol II (395 AD- 1185 AD) (1781) [NF]

199) Max Hastings, Ed. The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes. (1985) [NF]

200) Bob & Brian Tovey. The Last English Poachers. (2015) [NF]

201) Duff Cooper. Sergeant Shakespeare. (1950) [NF]

202) John Steinbeck. Once There Was A War. (1943) [NF]

203) D. Nichol Smith. 18th Century Essays on Shakespeare. (1903) [NF]

204) Cyril Connolly. Enemies of Promise and Other Essays: An Autobiography of Ideas. (1960) [ESSAYS]

205) William Shakespeare. Love’s Labor Lost. (1598) [DRAMA]

206) Ivo Kamps, Ed. Materialist Shakespeare: A History.(1995) [ESSAYS]

207) Virginia Woolf. The London Scene: Six Essays on London Life. (1975) [ESSAYS]

208) Susannah Carson. Living With Shakespeare. (2013) [ESSAYS]

209) Johnathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield. Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism. (1985/1994) [ESSAYS]

210) William Manchester. A World Lit By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of An Age. (1993) [NF]

211) Ashley Montagu. The Anatomy of Swearing. (1967) [NF]

212) Stanley Wells. William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction. (2015)[NF]

213) Edmund Wilson. Axel’s Castle: A Study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930. (1931) [ESSAYS]

214) John Julius Norwich. The Duff Cooper Diaries (2006) [NF]

215) Percy Melville Thornton. Harrow School And It’s Surroundings. (1884) [NF]

216) Robert McKee. Story. (1997) [NF]

217) Henry James. The Art of the Novel. (2015) [NF]

218) Elizabeth Drew. T.S.Eliot: The Design of His Poetry. (1949) [NF]

219) Thomas Marc Parratt and Robert Hamilton Ball. A Short View of Elizabethan Drama (1943/1958) [NF]

220) Sonny Brewer. Cormac: The Tale of a Dog Gone Missing. (2007) [NF]

221) Terry McDonell. The Accidental Life: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers. (2016) [NF]

222) George Grossmith. The Dairy of  A Nobody. (Unk) [NF]

223) Yuval Noah Harari. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. (2015) [NF]

224) Timothy Hallinan. Little Elvises (2012) [FICT]

225) Richard Green, Ed. Graham Greene: A Life in Letters. (2007) [NF]

226) Norman Sherry. The Life of Graham Greene: Vol 1: 1904-1939. (1989) [NF]

227) Norman Sherry.The Life of Graham Greene: Vol II: 1939-1955. (1994) [NF]

228) Norman Sherry. The Life of Graham Greene: Vol III: 1955-1991. (2004) [NF]

229) A. Scott Berg. Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. (1978/2016) [NF]

230) Sonny Brewer. A Yin for Change: Awakening Imagination For More Life in Your Living. (1996) [NF]

231) Sonny Brewer. The Poet of Tolstoy Park. (2005) [FICT]

232) Sonny Brewer. The Widow and the Tree. (2009) [FICT]

233) Sonny Brewer. A Sound Like Thunder. (2006) [FICT]

234) Sonny Brewer, Ed. Don’t Quit Your Day Job Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit. (2010) [NF]

235) Rachel Bowlby. Everyday Stories. (2016) [NF]

236) Graham Greene. A Sort of Life (1971) [NF]

237) Ring W. Lardner. How To Write Short Stories (With Samples). (1924) [FICT]

238) Josie Antonio Villareal. Pocho (1959) [FICT]

239) Sir J.W. Fortesque. A History of the British Army, Vol 201 (1789-1801). (1906) [NF]

240) GK Chesterton. The Man Who Was Thursday. (1908) [FICT]

241) Clemence Dane. Will Shakespeare: An Invention in Four Acts. (1921) [DRAMA]

242) Joseph Stanley Pennell. The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters. (1944/1982) [FICT]

243) Carole Levin & John Watkins. Shakespeare’s Foreign World: National and Transnational Identities in the Elizabethan Age. (2009) [NF]

244) Edith Sitwell. Wheels 1920: Fifth Cycle. (1920) [POETRY]

245) Edith Sitwell. Fanfare for Elizabeth.(1946) [NF]

246) Graham Greene. Our Man in Havana. (1958/1976) [FICT]

247) Richard Greene. Edith Sitwell: Avant Garde Poet, English Genius (2011) [NF]

248) Ben H. Winters. The Last Policeman. (2012) [FICT]

249) Ben H. Winters. Countdown City. (2013) [FICT]

250) Ben H. Winters. World of Trouble (2014) [FICT]

251) Van Wyck Brooks. The Ordeal of Mark Twain. (1920) [NF]

252) Nicholas Shakespeare. Priscilla: The Hidden Life of An Englishwoman in Wartime France. (2013) [NF]

253) J. Donald Adams. Copey of Harvard. (1960) [NF]

254) Jonathan Rose. The Literary Churchill. (2014) [NF]

255) Rolf O. Peterson.  The Wolves of Isle Royale. (2007) [NF]

256) John Dover Wilson. The Essential Shakespeare. (1960) [NF]

257) Stephen Greenblatt. Hamlet In Purgatory. (2001) [NF]

258) Stephen Greenblatt, Ed. New World Encounters. (1993) [NF]

259) William H. Gass. Finding A Form (1996) [ESSAYS]

260) Peter Brook. Evoking Shakespeare…and Forgetting. (1998/2003) [NF]

261) Stephen Greenblatt, Peter G. Platt, Eds. Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays: A Selection. (2014) [NF]

262) Richard Pearson. The Boys of Shakespeare’s School in the Second World War. (2013) [NF]

263) Bernard Cornwell. Sharpe’s Fortress. (1999/2002) [FICT]

264) Edith Sitwell. Collected Poems. (2006) [POETRY]

265) Andy Mozina. Quality Snacks. (2014) [SS]

266) Benjamin Percy. Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction. (2016) [ESSAYS]

267) Lee Gutkind, Ed. Hurricanes and Carnivals: Essays by Chicanos, Pochos, Pachucos, Mexicanos, and Expatriates. (2007) [ESSAYS]

268) Oscar Lewis. The Children of Sanchez: Autobiography of A Mexican Family (1963)

269) Jose Antonio Villareal. Clemente Charon: A Novel. (1984) [FICT]

270) Jose Antonio Villareal. The Fifth Horseman. (1974) [FICT]

271) Robert J.Koester. Lost Person Behavior. A Search and Rescue Guide on Where To Look – for Land, Air and Water. (2008) [NF]

272) Bernard Cornwell. Sharpe’s Devil. (1992) [FICT]

273) Andy Mozina. The Women Were Leaving the Men. (2007) [SS]

274) Miles Harvey. The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime. (2000) [NF]

 

275) Carol MaColl and Carol McD Wallace. To Marry An English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery. (2012) [NF]

276) Tom Wolfe. The New Journalism: With An Anthology Edited by Tom Wolfe and E.W.Johnson. (1973) [NF]

277) Denis Donoghue.  Metaphor. (2014) [NF]

278) Martha Ferguson McKeown.  The Trail Led North: Mont Hawthorne’s Story. (1949) [NF]

279) Nicole S. Cohen. Writer’s Rights: Freelance Journalism in A Digital Age. (2016)  [NF]

280) Graham Greene.  Ministry of Fear. (1943/1975) [FICT]

281) Richard Greene.  Selected Letters of Edith Sitwell (1997) [NF]

282) Edith Sitwell. Biography. (1963) [NF]

283) Graham Greene. The Lawless Roads. (1939/1978) [NF]

284) Theodor Meron. Bloody Constraint: War and Chivalry in Shakespeare.(1998) [NF]

285) Barbara Holland. Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon,Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences. (2000) [ESSAYS]

286) Nancy Schoenberger. Dangerous Muse: Lady Caroline Blackwood. (2001) [NF]

287) Ted Cohen.  Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters. (1999) [NF]

288) William H. Gass.  In the Heart of the Country. (2015) [SS]

289) Arthur Koestler.  Darkness At Noon. (1940/1994) [FICT]

290) Virginia Woolf. A Collection of Critical Essays. (1993) [ESSAYS]

291) Graham Greene.  England Made Me. (1935/1945/1951) [FICT]

292) W.B.Yeats. The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats (1916/1924/1944/1965) [NF]

293) Aldus Huxley. Brave New World. (1932/1998) [FICT]

294) Joseph Heywood. A Sporting of Skeletons. ( 2018) (MS for publisher) [FICT]

295) Timothy Egan. The Immortal Irishman:The Irish Revolutionary Who Became An American Hero. (2016) [NF]

296) Palinurus (Cyril Conally). The Unquiet Grave. (1944/1967) [ESSAYS]

297) George Saintsbury. A History of English Prose Rhythm. (1912) [NF]

298) John Unterecker. A Reader’s Guide to William Butler Yeats. (1959) [NF]

299) George A. Corrigan. Calked Boots & Cant Hooks. (1976) [NF]

300) Richard West. Chaucer 1340-1400. (2000) [NF]

301) Edith Sitwell.  I Live Under A Black Sun. (1937/2997) [FICT]

302) William Morris. The News From Nowhere And Other Writings. (1993) [FICT]

303) Wyndham Lewis. Creatures of Habit and Creatures of Change: Essays on Art, Literature, and Society, 1914-1956) 91988) [ESSAYS]

304) John LeCarre. The Looking Glass War. (1965/2009) [FICT]

305) Donald P.McCrory.  No Ordinary Man:The Life and Times of Miguel de Cervantes (2006) [NF]

307) John Barnard,Ed.  John Keats,Selected Letters (2014) [NF]

308) Natalie Goldberg.  Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life (1990) [NF]

309) Janet Burroway. Imaginative Writing.(2011) [NF]

310) Howard Pyle.  The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1952) [FICT]

311) Patricia Sergent.  Mortal Encounter. (1979) [FICT]

312) Edward Rutherford. The Princes of Ireland.(2004) [FICT]

313) Timothy Hallinan. A Nail Through the Heart. (2007) [FICT]

314) Bernard CornwellAgincourt. (2009) [FICT]

315) Robert Linsenman.  The Last Brook Trout. (UNPUB) [SS]

315) David P. Wagner. Return To Umbria. (2016) [FICT]

316) Mel Starr. The Abbot’s Agreement. (2014) [FICT]

317) Sasha Sokolov. Between Dog & Wolf. (2017) [FICT]

318) Michel Winock. Flaubert. (2016) [NF]

319) Cicero. On Living and Dying Well. (2012) [ESSAYS]

320) Sara Nickles. Drinking,Smoking & Screwing. Great Writers on Good Times. (1994) [ESSAYS]

321) Andrea Moro. Impossible Languages. (2016) [ESSAYS]

322) Charles Johnson. Middle Passage. (1990) [FICT]

323) Marcus Tullius Cicero, James H. May, Trans. How To Win An Argument: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Persuasion. (2016) [NF]

324) Charles Johnson. The Way of A Writer on the Art and Craft of Storytelling. (2016) [NF]

325) Helen Garner. Everywhere I Look. (2026) [ESSAYS]

326) Sebastian Junger. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. (2016) [NF]

327) Mel Starr. Lucifer’s Hammer. (2016) [FICT]

328) Georges Simenon. Maigret and the Wine Merchant. (1970) [FICT]

329) Elena Filipovic. The Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp. (2016) [NF]

330) Joseph Heywood. Brown Ball. (Revised MS, begun Jan, 2012). [FICT]

331) John Gardner. The Sunlight Dialogues. (1972) [FICT]

332) Benjamin Percy. Thrill Me. (2016) [NF]

333) John Gardner and Lennis Dunlap. The Forms of Fiction. (1962) [NF]

334) John Gardner, Foreward by Raymond Carver. On Becoming A Novelist. (1983) [NF]

335) Marjorie Boulton. The Anatomy of Poetry. (1953) [NF]

336) Jean-Paul Sartre. “What is Literature?” And Other Essays. (1988) [NF]

337) William Albracht and Marvin J. Wolf; Foreward by Joseph L. Galloway. Abandoned in Hell: The Fight For Vietnam’s Firebase Kate. (2016) [NF]

338) Winston Weathers and Otis Winchester. The New Strategy of Syle. (1978) [NF]

339) William H. Gass. A Temple of Texts: Essays.  (2006) [NF]

340) Justin Cronin. The Passage. (2010) [FICT]

341) Justin Cronin. The Twelve. (2012) [FICT]

342) Yoel Hoffmann,Ed, Trans,  Intro Dror Burstein. The Sound of the One Hand: 281 Koans With Answers. (1975) [NF]

 

 

26 Dec

Painting Continues.

Lots of painting getting done. Here’s stuff in various stages of completion:

Smallie

Trout are where you find them.

Can’t stop chasing brook trout.

It’s a BIG one

Itsaschool I

Itsaschool II

It’s what’s for dinner

Bullshidos, a Work in Progress ( On canvas and in Life)

Last day of trout season catches are the best.

He Who Plays It By Ear Gets in in the same.

Tara Sushi 1

Tara Sushi Too

Tara Sushi 3

20 Dec

This Week’s Workpile

Revisions of Brown Ball finito (for this round) onto drawing for the week, and maybe next week too. Results so far….

Grilled

Grilled

DeLong’s Six By Six

Guess Who’s For Dinner

We Brook Trout

Bag of Brrroookies.

 

15 Dec

The Art and Use of Nap-Hats

I’ve always enjoyed hat of all kinds and have taken a number of jobs along the way that involved the wearing of helmets. It seems to me that most people only wear a hat, rather than inhabiting it. By this I mean a hat needs to fit in such a way that when you walk into a brisk wind it will stay on your head, and when you flop down on a couch or against a tree, the hat  should fit in such a way that you can slide it down to your chin (over your nose and eyes) and use it as a light-blocker. Not every hat will fill this bill. The best I have is  UP-assembled Stormy Kromer (Ironwood factory), which also doubles as a fly patch (Betty McNaults down one side, and green Yooper Hoppers down the other side although I don’t put the Yooper Hoppers on until we get back north.).

The Betty McNault dressing I prefer is essentially a royal coachman with a red tail. Other anglers seem to prefer a green body with red tail. Both  are effective and there is no need for anything to be rising in order to  inveigle a strike, the Betty being an excellent search pattern. Most of the small waters we fish in the western Upper Peninsula have sporadic hatches (if any) so there is little point to carrying anything except for various sizes and ties of blue wing olives (BWOs) which seem to pop forth  from late spring, through summer, into late fall on just about any cool,  cloudy day. Otherwise, gaudy wet flies seem to work best as do bushy raggedy dry flies.  The nastier and more dilapidated the dry fly looks, the more attractive it seems to be. Species doesn’t seem to count for much. Raggedy appearance and natural colors  are what matter.

I only recently  heard that the Betty was the late John Voelker’s  favorite fly, which may or may not be true. Always been my impression that he like teensy-weensy flies, of which the Betty is not one,  but who knows? Most Bettys get tied in #12-#16.

But back to hats. It’s fun to look back and see what others thought about the subject, for example, Walt Whitman, who wrote,” I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out.” Certainl this attitude has carried over. We are always amazed by the number of people , adults not teens , who wear their hats in restaurants of varying sophistication.

Shakespeare also had some thoughts on hats, this excerpt from Hamlet:

 “HAMLET: I will receive it sir with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use, ’tis for the head.
OSRIC:  I thank you lordship, it is very hot.
HAMLET: No believe me, ’tis very cold, the wind is northerly.
OSRIC: It is indifferent cold my lord, indeed.
HAMLET: But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
OSRIC: Exceedingly my lord, it is very sultry, as ’twere – I cannot tell how. But my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that a has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter –
HAMLET:  I beseech you remember.(Hamlet moves him to put on his hat)” 

In Much Ado About Nothing, the Bard also gave us following line, which still holds today in some spheres: “ He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat.”

One of my favorite chapeaus was given to me in Paris one night by my pal Bob Kunze. It s  Italian-made, a Borsalino Compania. This is a  100-percent wool fedora in coal-black, the kind of thing gentlemen once wore to the opera (low and high).  I’ve treasured this hat for a long, long time, and wear it when fishing in the U.P. the highest honor I can bestow.

Snow day here today, second one this week. High today to be around 10 and colder tonight. Winter is here!

Over.

Nice looking brook trout wet flies.

Betty McNault with green body.

My Stormy Kromer with Bettys. Warm hat, nice nap-cap, fly-patch.

13 Dec

Life of A Traveling “Suit.”

In Brussels April 18-23,1991. Idle observations at the end of the trip:

  • April 22 was Lenin’s 121st B-day. His mausoleum was closed for repairs, which makes some wonder If this a signal;
  • Last month Dmitri T. Yazov, Soviet Defense Minister, visited troops in the GDR without informing the German government – a serious breach of protocol. 500 Soviet troops have deserted in Gy in past year or so.
  • 33 percent of English 7 years olds failed the National English Skills Test last year.
  • Annual snail race held in Osenbach, France. Winner covered the one-meter course in 15 minutes flat. Blazing!
  • Deposed Hungarian leader Karoly Grosz disclosed April 22, that Hungarians deployed Soviet Nukes “well into the Gorbachev era.” Warheads for Scuds, Frogs, and nuclear mines not removed from Hungarian territory until 1988. Official Soviet statements insisted over decades that there were Soviet missiles only in GDR and CSSR.
  • Communist Andre Hediger (Swiss Party of Labour) elected mayor of Geneva last year, his party won with  a  first-ever red-green alliance won majority of city government. Hear greens called reds and commies back home from conservative, anti-envirosnmentalist forces. Funny how things and labels  get  assigned and conflated.
  • Polls show 64% of Irish citizens want the divorce ban removed.
  • Weekend frosts caused worst grape disaster in France since 1945.  Bordeaux to have  50 % output. Pomerol and St. Emilion also hard hit and champaigne production to be down 33%. In Dordogne & Jura 100 percent of the vines have been damaged, Nantes (Muscadet) 95%, Cots de Saumier down est. 80-85%.  Prices going UP.

The Trip Home:

Flew Brussels to Chicago, but weather at destination was bad and we were low on fuel and were diverted to Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, kept on plane 90 minutes while refueled, then we taxied out but Ohare closed again, so we shut down on the apron and waited. No smokes, not food, no booze, no sort drinks, no explanations, no choice, prisoners. Passengers near me asked our stew what was going on. She said, “I’m just a stewardess.” We arrived at Ohare after a 5-hour delay. The purser announces to the captive passengers, “This has not entirely been the fault of our company. I arrived home after midnight. My bags didn’t make it. I carried them through customs and passport control and apparently they are still in Chicago. The wonders of modern travel.

 

Another trip, this time to London from Brussels, Feb 4 – Feb 7 1992:

Flew to London this morning. Lunch of Fish and chips and a pint of bitters at the Gatwick Hilton. Trip notes:

  • Heard on the loudspeaker: Will the person who lost the blue teddy bear on the Transit contact Gate 37?
  • Also heard at Gatwick: Unattended luggage will be taken and immediately destroyed.
  • Sublime or bizarre, can’t decide: En Route, London to Minnie-polis, cruising at 35K over the vast white wastes of Greenland,  sipping Champaigne, Bach in my headset, uniformed servants hovering, soft blankie over my legs.
  • Glass of beer at Minneapolis airport is $4.65 a pop. Ridiculous. Welcome back to America.

And not to neglect domestic travel, To NYC, Sept 10-11, 1992: Trip notes:

  • Trip from airport is awful. Wx at LAG (LaGuardia) has traffic backed up. We had to orbit two hours before diverting to Allentown PA. Missed  our first approach there and had to go-around, no explanation offered by the flight crew. We landed on our second attempt and I noticed we have and crash and fire vehicles escort in to the parking area. We were told we will be bussed to NY LAG  , a 90-minute  jaunt when the  traffic is normal. Is it ever? Then takes 60 minutes by cab from airport to the  hotel in Manhattan. I left my house at 0630 for the 0715 flight and finally got to the hotel at 1800.
  • There was an open-bed deuce truck on Fifth Ave. young people sing rock over loudspeaker and keep chanting “Free concert.” Bike messengers veer in and out of traffic making we wonder about life expectancy and insurance coverage. Sign on side of a truck proclaims, “RISE ROBOTS, RISE.” I love New York 9 (sic)
  • Incas in Indiana Jones fedoras are playing electric flutes outside Barnes & Noble book store on Fifth Ave. An Italian kid in rumpled suit begs a cigarette from me. He has table of books on sidewalk. Hot sale, hot sale! Right. All I can think about it is the Incas, the final humiliation of the Great Empire of the Clouds, reduced to taking donations from passersby in front of the Pan Am Building.
  • At the Algonquin Hotel there is a gaggle of gussied-up Southin’ ladies “up to see the shows, Hon!”
  • The Hotel’s cat, Matilda is still on duty.
  • An Algonquin waiter laments, “This is hard on the legs. Five years until I have twenty, then I’ll so something else. I see all the whiteheads coming in and out. They all go crazy.” He waggles his finger at his temple.
  • No matter where you go in NYC you see only the superficial. Reality only pops through on occasion.
  • Sign for dog walkers at night: NO SCOOP? NO POOP. AND NO YIPPING TERRIERS.
  • There is exactly one-inch clearance between my door and my bed.
  • Koala Queen and I visit the Mayflower Hotel on CPW, Columbus Zoo honcho Jack Hannah is there with his female keeper entourage and they are just starting dinner at a huge round table in the dining room. They all have been served iced shrimp. One of the handlers escorts us up the elevator to a suite on the 14th As soon as the elevator door opens we are pummeled by the stench of wildness. Hannah will be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning. As soon as we step off the lift, we hear whistling. “Birds?” I ask. Says the keeper, “No, a pair of 18-month old mountains lions, brother and sister. Whistling pumas? Whowouldathunkit? The keeper adds, “This is how they communicate when they can’t see each other. There also is a 2-yr-old snow leopard, which garumphs for attention. Also on the floor: a Canadian Lynx,a bobcat, an orange and black cervil, which the keeper lets loose and which immediately runs wild. There is also a hairy rabbit and a lizard. Cats are raised in keeper’s homes, “But,” says the keeper,” you have to remember they are wild, not pets.” I wonder, why then raise them in homes? The cervil grabs a sheepskin pad from a purse, takes it to corner, knocks over a lamp, refuses to surrender its prize. Dawns on me something I once heard out west: “Only reason the cat don’t kill you is because you’re too big.
  • Sojourn to Orvis Shop on 45th. A Chilean man and son (10-12 ish) area trying to get advice on steel head fishing in South America. The man’s wife is a chemical blond, decked out in furs and sparkle-arkles She sits on a leather hamper bouncing her leg, bored.
  • Outside Orvis a wino sleeps on a subway grate (where heat rises). People step over and around him and nobody looks at him. Maybe they don’t see him?
  • Walk to book store, Brentanos. Only three copies of The Domino Conspiracy. I ask clerk, “Is it selling well?” Typical NY response. “We just got it? (Translation, “Fuck off!”)
  • At a project on East River Drive there is high school age football practice underway, mix-and-match uniforms, full equipment, Helmets all different colors. They are all working in an area 2 x 25 yards. Stones and trash on the ground. Tought to work on a passing game in such confines.
  • Airport travelers look at each other, but don’t talk.
  • “Beer is $5 a cup at La Guardia. There is tennis on three different TVs in the bar. Not one person is watching.

 

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