The Earth Moves, Under our Feet and Whaddya Gonna Do?

Jambe Longue confides one night she has a skeleton in her closet -- then insists we meet. Sheesh.
Left by the ice fog: Hoaryoak.
Blue skies, white treetops: Priceless.
Tighter look at hoarfrost on week pod
Snowsnake trails in Oshtemo
Didja get a big enough chunk?
Itsy bitsy downy woodpecker at the hanging automat


No idea who this is, or who sent me the photo, but I call it Polar Bare and the dude can HAVE the river to himself!
The newest Granddog, Beatrix, a pug. She was rescued from a puppy mill run by some Amish folks and now lives in Chicago with the Schoolteacher.


Hairy Woodpecker puts on the feedbag.
Thanks to my old bassing and hunting partner The Snooker (Charles G. Snoek Esq.) for this “sentiment.” Very Texican philosophically.
Flickers are in the woodpecker family, but Yoopers call them Dollar Butts, a much better moniker.


Suet Duet. Sparrow and Red Belly Woodpecker compete for chow.



0755 this a.m. we got a little terra firma-

 shaker here, from a 5-point something quake centered about 50 miles north of  Big Nap. The weather bashers are calling for temps in the high 40s tomorrow, possibly into the 50s. Ah, Michigan, America’s economic  Third World Nation. The birds have been going bonkers with the weather change, even yesterday when ice fog painted all the trees with hoar frost and the chill factor was +8.  Nice Christmas here with kids and five dogs. Photos follow for you enjoyment. Happy New Year, Over.

Faith in the Time of Twatoos

Faith in The Time Of Twatoos

Reflecting on Send-Times when all,

Digital devices in hand

[Wait-wait, Warble-clicker,

Texters coming in at rates of Mo’ thin

Nine thou, month, some

Surveys insist, which makes

Me sweat with a telecomic mist

I do declare Scarlet of  mein

marvel as to how anyone

Ever in the history of history,

[which we’ll later address]

Could have that much to propound

To anyone, even to god.

Finger-pecking across all bands,

Propelling drivel by hand through time

Across unnamed unwired space.

Time to duck this telecommunistic race

[silicomers want us all to have all the same stuff]

That night we just may sit alone,

Electronically unplugged

From beepers and phones,

Undocked on the couch downstairs

To watch Times Square’s ball Pfall

Like a damn mass play-time

For alleged adults too thick

To imagine entertainment

As a solo undertaking

Deep breath.



My apologies to Patton

Who slapped boys upside their heads

Roughing them up in dressing stations

On account he would brook no cowards

[Only lunatics, we grant in retro

Hymngrateself not knowing PTSD was real]

unt  having apologized grudgingly,

Beloved General Wronghead

was plethorally decorated

And publicly acclaimed

The way Self-Declared Greatest Generation Heroes

Were done, so to speak.

Still, I suppose we must  long for heroes

As people always have,

Soupcon with faces and names

Think Shagsper’s bear: Sackerson

Spoken of, never seen on stage,

A name Elizabethans knew

As we do Lady Gaga, Madonna,

[Even out in far Montana]

Oft-baited, never defeated

Capable of magnificent rages,

Great Bear Defiant, Hound-Killer

[Like Sam Grant in his prime,

The Big Blue Spear honed, boned, oiled,

And pointed one way: Sudsud,

Burn em all, burn em all

The long, the short, and the tall]

C’est une saltimbanque grande

Performers for hominidal

Crowds of baying homunculi,

Gawking cultural mouth breathers,

Such as today might well believe

Easter Bunny drives Ford trucks

And mankind is only five thou in

Birthday candle of age-ness,

Here in the Time of Twatoo Art

Argumentum ad populum

Reigning over hard science

Ursus regnum faith trumping

Higher maths and miles of fossil records.

[Were dinosaurs hatched in movie

Studios like moon landings?]


By majorily manority

Opined on cable by clerisy

[we who badmouth Eyerainians for same]

To hail as Emo’s Evo Equal

Which sounds like a texting plan

We can’t afford to decline.

Deep breath.



This fellow called here one day,

Not so long ago,

Announced The Holy Spirit 

(female historians insist until the fifth cent)

How HE performed 27 miracles

In November alone, fueled solely by local prayer,

But no names or facts available,

[No police report equiv on God’s beat, except

where we want to extract revenge on those

who dare disagree on the unverifiable]

In this local case,

The minkyster having said

faith and privacy must prevail

over factual public knowledge,

Language of a sort I seem to remember

From our Cold War days,

When blackblackblack meant black,

And whitewhitewhite  meant Lone Ranger,

All of us in lock step all lip-synching

(even the media) total faith

That sitting under our first grade desks

Would keep us free

Of fallout from Soviet radioactivity.

Granted, not Sam this time,

But verification was then partner to faith

Paramount where nuke bombs

Were at issue crost PointeeTalky-Tables

Where Uncle Sammers and Russky-buskers

Fatcatsat Nogoatsheighting

Not like now, when faith alone

Is supposed to carry water

[Bucketless if your faith be strong]

Ten was one helluva year as bad years go.



Michigan southeast of home






Not so hospitable to the smartly dressed intruder.

Yesterday former Spartan LaxmanTed Swoboda looked out on his deck long enough to get his camera clicking to capture a bluebird, which was apparently driven off by the other words. Ted notes how bright the bird’s plumage is for this time of year, even on a gray December day. First bluebird ever at his feeders. Enjoy. Over.

Bluebird in Winter

Tis the Season

Happy Holidays to each and  all and thanks to all of my readers and supporters. Hey,did you hear that  our outgoing governorship signed a law to authorize a moose hunt? The DNR doesn’t even know for sure how many animals there are and in the 52 years I’ve been going up to the Yoop (and I mean ALL OVER THE PLACE) I’ve never seen a one. Been close, but still waiting to see my first. Makes me think perhaps this deal is premature anda touch  ass-backwards. Shouldn’t the way this happens be our  biologists would declare  — based on empirical data — that  we have a herd that needs culling for biological reasons, THEN ask political operatives to put in place a season to take care of the biological needs? But hey, what do I know? Be safe and be happy. We’ll re-open the Worry Ward after the first. Go State, kick Nick Saban’s miserable butt. Over.

Semester’s Over

Jambe Longue’s met her last classes of the semester and grades are in the computer, she wants to celebrate with breakfast out. Friends tell us we should try a place called the Crow’s Nest, so we do, result a poem (surprise).

Breakfast Burrito

Crow’s nest, signage declares

Upstairs, above Westnedge  traffic

Service so slow calendars

Suffice, the weighter a twenty

First cent Fatty Arbuckle

Clone, with frontal hair top knot,

Gold rings dangle from both ear lobes

Black apron tied low-rider style

Below his arse, over plaid shorts.

Curtains over windows the color

Of severely smudged brick,

Here in Upper Yupdomville,

A threesome of Peace Corps vets

Recounting their days in darkest

AF-ree-ka, over tofu breakie

At nine bucks a pop, the woman declares

They might’ve stayed up to five years

But she was always sick, her words.

Other fast-breakers surround us

Mainly of the Inca-chooker

And Earth-shoe set, soles the shape

of fur harvesters’ skinning knives,

palavering far behind us.

Peacecorpsgirl adds, “No computer,

No internet, dude it was primitive,

Like totally?” Across the street

Neon blinks cigarettes and cold drinks

Beside the Crazy Monkey Tattooery,

The girl beside me has black fingernails,

Did I mention s   l   o   w  service

But a Boffo Breakie Burrito?

Dudes, let us give thanks for zany.


Winter Stuff

Inflatable plastic: the official unofficial substance of Christmas yard displays
Red belly woodpecker on the suet.
Saturday morning sweets at Azteca.
How often do you see an ice trout climbing your bushes?
Ice sculpture
Frozen in the act of falling.
Lamprey's mouth, fresh from eating.

Steel in the Rustbelt

We live in that area some call the Rustbelt and others call Flyover country. That’s how outsiders see us. We  have nasty, frigid winters, humid, tornado-filled summers and all the miserable weather you can conjure so what do we do, sit inside on Saturdays drinking latte or get the hell out of the house?

Answer: We head into the elements to enjoy the things we love so much…like hockey outdoors, the way most of us learned it, on country  ponds, not in fancy buildings with zambonies, but with teams of boys with snow shovels, dusting slush off the rink before pitching hockey sticks in a pile and choosing teams by grabbing sticks and making two piles. Midwesterners, us Rustbelties, we live for and in the outdoors. It is part of us.

Which is why yesterday 113,411 people gathered in Michigan Stadium to watch Michigan State play hockey against the Wolverines of the University of Michigan. I get a lump in my throat just looking at all the people in hunting boots, down jackets and chooks on their heads. Very, very cool. We may not be the classiest address in America, but we’ve got the toughest. most resilient  people anywhere.

Oh yeah, U of M won 5-0, but on this day, that was not the major issue. It was all about being there. Congrats to both universities and all the people in the crowd.  Friend Ted Swoboda sent along photos. What a day. Over.

"Let's play hockey, boys!"
Here's what I mean by Rustbelt steel.
Boys will be boys, eh.
Taking the ice.
This caption wrote itself: Dogeared.

Seven In the Morning

Morning Truths


Old man up street

(kittles call ‘im Trut Mout)

say he yerry dayclean,

like fairy cymbals,

Cellophane wind chimes

From far edges

Where slygroggers dwell.


Trut Mout, he got

Skookum mojotion

Red-shifting half-bone

Of Zeroth Quartile,

Congressional debate

Endless procrastibation

For tetrapods,



Of trigger mortis.


(Up north we heard

911 call from burg

Called Paris

(rhymes with hairs, not harry),

Guy has intruder,

Pops off four rounds,


Lots of screaming,

Official tape awaits

NRA exploitation,


All you all

Got you guns, son?)


In Oyrish Gaelic

Ain’t no word for yes or no,

Shakespeare’s English

Stretched maybe 60 miles

From London; elsewhere

They spoke like, Elsewise,

Not unlike our pols

Whose words have purchase

About same distance from

The capitol building.


All this talk makes me tummy

Yearn for tucker,

I crave strozapretti

In caper sauce,

With sparrow grass

And unmitigated Barolo

(If’n  ya’s ain’t got none,

I’d settle for

This week’s blind tiger skokiaan)


Tis  nightkill bydayclean

And snow still floats

Sideways by yon

Windows, a preview

Of (let’s W.A.G.)

the next 117

Days, c’est vrai!


Growing up

there was this

Mister Eyemachination

we kids all watched

and that’s the extent

of the memory.

[December 9, 2010]


Do you know that the light you see from Polaris in our northern sky actually started traveling from there when Shakespeare was a boy? Long trip: Wonder if there were any two-tracks along the way.  Snowing here every day. Just some salt, not much accumulation, but first snow brought the inevitable spate of crashes. Yuck.

Venison resupplied by Dick DeLong!  This is a really good thing! Over.

Guess what the Crystal Ball is predicting....
"I tracked what inside?"
Ah, that most white time of year....
But, if you want to escape the snow and cold -- assuming you can find anywhere warm in America these days, you still have to go through the airport stripper-scanner, which will lay bare your hunkus-junkus.

Forensic Taphonomy

There are a couple of parts of the so-called writing life most people don’t think about. The first and most invisible, is the drudge (loosely termed) of long hours spent actually pounding out the first draft of a manuscript, sentence by sentence. Alone. The second and a bit more visible involves the interesting people writers get to meet and interact with and I am reminded of this from this morning when I spent 2.5 hours with Dr. ( St. Joe County Special Deputy)  Sue Stejskal, learning about cadaver dogs and how they are trained and how they work in the field. Sue teaches such subjects as Forensic Taphonomy [Look it Up] for Law Enforcement: Understanding Human Decomposition. Ordinarily this would not be civilized breakfast fare (I had coffee only!), but it is fascinating to hear how detectives and support assets like cadaver dogs and their handlers go about their business, along with sorting out all the variables that go into the process. The petite and demure Stejskal has worked with cops in many, many venues and is part of the “brotherhood.” Great morning. Why cadaver dogs? No, not planning to write anything specifically, but finding bodies is part of the law enforcement mission and COs are often called in to help in a wide range of circumstances, so I reasoned I ought to know a little bit about this process and subject. More importantly, now I have a contact who can provide expert advice if the need arises. She has a 10 ½ year old female doxey named Chili, s an old warhorse at the specialty, and a two-year old chocolate lab named Buzz, who is certified by the US Police Canine Association as a human remains (cadaver) dog. Buzz came to Sue and hubby Andy after spending his first year getting preliminary training is a prison-based training program. Who knew? Prior to prison-based programs, where dogs live with and are trained by inmates, the pass rate for dogs was 35 percent under the old foster home arrangement. With the advent of prison programs it’s now 90 percent. And by the time the first year is complete, a good assessment can be made if the dog will work out for specialty training, or would be better as a pet. I also learned that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has a number of wildlife detection dog programs employed in such things as census taking for endangered or invasive species. Some of these animals are trained on scat or other stimuli. A crew of US&FS Jack Russell dogs is deployed on the island of Guam to search out snakes, which overrun the island. (This was reported some years back in National Geographic) And, California has archaeological detection dogs trained to sniff out body remains 150-200 years old.

The contents  of a program on Forensic Taphonomy might include: factors affecting cellular function; cellular decomposition; stages, changes, and products of systemic decomposition (immediate/putrefactive/post-putrefactive); others states of decomposition; and environmental influences (e.g., temperature, soil, plants, bodies in water, etc). It’s one thing to watch TV and see all the fictional whiz-bang science people chasing bad guys. It’s quite another to talk to someone actually engaged in such pursuits and get myths culled from the realities and limitations.

Amazing stuff, all Thanks for your time, your service,  dedication to law enforcement professional, and your passion for the work, Sue. Over.