Spring Wildlife

Krasean mystery duck
Bill Krasean’s mystery duck is a drake ruddy duck, last ducks to get their spring breeding colors. Thanks to Randy for the enlightenment.

Spring brings all kinds of great wildlife photography opportunities as animals emerge from dens looking for food and love. CO Dave Painter in Iron County was working out kinks with a new camera couple of days ago and got photos of a duck, deer, turkey and a skunk. Pal Bill Krasean, retired sciene writer from the Kalamazoo Gazette got shots of ducks out a the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary and couldn’t identify the duller of them. So we passed the pix on to pal Randy Clarke, the eminant waterfowl ID guru for conservation offices and he immediately gave us the answer. Great thing here. I don’t have to know squat myself, just the names of those who do know! Enjoy the pix. Over.

Dave - duck
Great shot of a full-flighter in low-light conditions.
Dave - skunk
Skunks are emerging, with nasty dispositions. Do not say, Kitty, Kitty.
Dave turkey
Turkey seasons are open or opening. And the boys are in full display and show-off mode.

 

Dave-Deer
Dave Painter came across this deer in the woods. We are pushing toward May and note the amount of snow stll on the ground in Iron County. Big, nasty winter this year.
Krasean horned grebe 2
Horned grebe, view 2.

 

Krasean horned grebe 1
Bill Krasean’s photo of a horned grebe from Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. Another shot of same bird follows. Lonnie has seen this duck. This is my first look at it.

Reading in Fremont

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Jill Hansen makes the intro. I was supposed to talk from podium atop a stage, but it felt too much like playing Voice of God, which I most assuredly am not. I sat on the corner of the stage instead, no mike, just my old scratchy voice.
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The three youngest readers to ever attend one of my readings. Obviously they pefer materials with things to color in. I told my editor Keith we should do a coloring book. Now maybe he’ll buy the idea…

Last night in Fremont, awful traffic jams on US 131 going north. Beautiful library facility, about 40 people out to enjoy the snacks. Dodged deer all the way across M-82 to Howard City. Next outing is tomorrow afternoon (Saturday)at 4 at Kazoo Books on Clarendon/West Main in Kalamazoo. I like seeing audience responses to short stories, especially when they are entirely new to them. A few pix from the evening.   The transcript from the talk will be posted under documents on the web site when I’m done posting this. I used some, but not all of the material. Typically. Over.

 

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Homemade goodies for the Fremont audience.
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Reading short stories from the stage’s edge.

Pursuit of Rivers

I saw  a recent The New York Times  column about Japanese folks having a goal of climbing a hundred mountains in their lifetimes. 

It seems to me that right here in Michigan we could have similar pursuits, though not for mountains. But we have lakes and rivers galore, especially trout streams and not all of them easily reached, or reached at all by vehicle. To get to many of them you have to hike, and often not on preternaturally groomed trails, but through the untouched bush.

Certainly you could also set a goal for 100 Michigan waterfalls, most of which are easily reached, but some of which require some work on our parts.

If manmade things are what floats your boat, there’s plenty in the way of lighthouses and navigation lights all around the Great Lakes. By my quick count there are 361 awaiting you: Lake Superior (70); Lake Michigan & Green Bay (87); Lake Huron ( 65); Lake Erie (59); Lake Ontario (33); St. Lawrence River (18); Detroit River (10); Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River (5); St. Mary’s River (14).

In Michigan alone we have 11,000 lakes, but here I would set a goal of finding and seeing only those lakes that look like a fish, person, animal, or inanimate object. Look at your maps and you’ll quickly see that looking at lake shapes is a lot like looking at the rolling figures in clouds, only the lakes don’t change, at least not that quickly.

Whatever you do, choose something and enjoy it.

Over.

Patrol Among Rising Rivers

Spent the end of last week on patrols midstate with CO Dan Bigger. Rivers overflowing, swamps miles wide, and still he managed to make an illegal deer case.

Then one day we are sitting at the river and along comes a guy with a bow and arrow. Vizbee in the water is about 1/16 inch. The CO asks him if he has a license? Sure, in the truck, didn’t want to lose it if I fell in. “Be better if you carry it because if you fall in you’re gonna drown and we can use the license to ID your body.

So, we trek back to his vehicle. he has a license, then as we sit ready to pull out, he puts the naked bow in the back of his vehicle. CO gets out and asks, “No case?”

“Sure, but I’m fishing not hunting so I don’t gotta case it, right?”

“Uh wrong. It still shoots a projectile, right?”

“What’s a projectile?”

“An arrow.”

Self Dope-slap: “Oh yeah.”

Patrol contacts can be very odd.

Over.

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We see a lot of roadkill, but this is our first roadkilled stuff turtle. Go figure.
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Checking in with the undersheriff in mixed football country…

 

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Castaway coyote carcass on the banks of the Maple River.

 

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Jeff Alkire of New Lothrop and his Aplomado falcon, Lulu. Jeff is a falconer and head of Midwest Aerial Solutions, which helps solve various airborne pest problems. Lulu is social and very talkative. Falcons strike at speeds in exess of 278 mph. THAT is speed!

 

 

Coming Events

Having trouble updating the events portion of the web site, so I am putting a note here for the moment. Events ahead:

* Thursday, April 25, Fremont District Library, 7-9 PM

* Saturday, April 27, Sign Books and read, Kazoo Books, 4-6 PM

* Saturday, May 18, Sign Books, Snowbound Books, Marquette, 1-3 PM

 

More Lacrosse

Reunion done, lots of fun. The guys are in great shape. Some photos follow. Shakesper enjoyed himself. Thanks to former coacha nd teammate Turf Kaufman, Coach Schwind and all the MSU people who made this get-together possible. Go Green. Over.

Another look at the line: My job was to screena nd beat on goalies while Wags and Wolfman fired shots, aimed at my knees or lower. This approach produced a lot of goals in 1965.
Another look at the line: My job was to screen and beat on goalies while Wags and Wolfman fired shots aimed at my knees or lower. This approach produced a lot of goals in 1965. (And a lot of unhappy bruised goalies as well.)
Originals -- on all counts. The men of the 1963-1965 teams, 50 years later. Banquet last night in the Lincoln Room at the Kellogg Center. MSU trustee, former football coach George Perles joined us. MSU athletic directors Biggie Munn and George Perles were lacrosse's greatest supporters and there will always be a warm spot for both men because of this.
Originals — on all counts. The men of the 1963-1965 teams, 50 years later. Banquet last night in the Lincoln Room at the Kellogg Center. MSU trustee, former football coach George Perles joined us. MSU athletic directors Biggie Munn and George Perles were lacrosse’s greatest supporters and there will always be a warm spot for both men because of this.
While younger almni beat on each other on the old Dem Hall field, smarter, older alums relive history. Big Mike Jolly became one of the most successful high school coaches in Michigan and was among a handful of men who made the sport take root and start growing here. A great man. And a reader, and a hunter. He and I first met as dorm-mates in East Shaw Hall
While younger almni beat on each other on the old Dem Hall field, smarter, older alums relive history. Big Mike Jolly became one of the most successful high school coaches in Michigan and was among a handful of men who made the sport take root and start growing here. A great man. And a reader, and a hunter. He and I first met as dorm-mates in East Shaw Hall
Shutterbug middie Bud Shwarz turned shutterbug.  Bud (Schwizz) hails  from western NY Iroquois country, now lives near St. Johns in Michigan. Great player and one of the team's founders along with Bruce Goodwin (Dwarf) and Dave Wagner (Wags).
Shutterbug middie Bud Shwarz turned shutterbug. Bud (Schwizz) hails from western NY Iroquois country, now lives near St. Johns in Michigan. Great player and one of the team’s founders along with Bruce Goodwin (Dwarf) and Dave Wagner (Wags).
Chicken neck crease attackman.
Chicken neck crease attackman.
Defenseman Big Mike Jolly and yours truly. Temp was 46 degrees, wind at 20 mph. Not nice.
Defenseman Big Mike Jolly and yours truly. Temp was 46 degrees, wind at 20 mph. Not nice.
(L)Wing Attack Dave Wagner (Wags) and (R) Wing Attack Bill Haeger (Wolfman) flank crease attack. Tricaptains of the 1965 MSU team, we naturally into field formaation withoujt even thinking about it.
(L)Wing Attack Dave Wagner (Wags) and (R) Wing Attack Bill Haeger (Wolfman) flank crease attack. Tricaptains of the 1965 MSU team, we naturally into field formaation withoujt even thinking about it.

 

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Half a Century of Lacrosse at MSU

I’m happy to have been privileged to play on Michigan State’s first lacrosse team, fifty years ago this spring. This afternoon the lads will gather for an alumni “game” and a banquet tonight. I composed the following as a paean to the memory.

Looking Back

1.

We are age seventy or more

A fact none of us can easily ignore

A half-century past our youthful prime,  

We were mere boys back in that time,

Playing lacrosse on our own dime,

Conservative in dress,

Hopeful in thought,

Most or all of us in ROTC by law

A draft upon the land

 Soon to be beset by massive unrest

A nation splintering into sides

As  fights for equality

And a trumped-up war

Gathered bloody steam toward

Almost sixty thousand dead

On our side alone,

Race rioting in the streets leaving many dead

In the loud, long bloody years ahead.

2.

We were from big cities

Small hamlets and towns, Midwest and East

But almost all of us  seeming to be

What once was called Indian Country,

Home to Iroquois and Algonquin,

Role models largely unknown to us then,

The Iroquois Confederation,

Binding glue of the

Hau-de-no-sau-nee ,

A model for our own

National framework

And how many of us heard

That in a history class?

3.

Like Indians we adopted all who came

And joined our effort, became brothers,

Wrote the Bard:

“We few/ we happy few/ we band of brothers/
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me/
Shall be my brother/
be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition/
And gentlemen in England now a-bed/
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here/
And hold their manhoods cheap/
whiles any speaks/
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

I contend our days had equal import

Surely felt as momentous as Prince Hal’s Agincourt

And I contend what writ Shakespeare

In the days of yore

For the audiences of Henry the Fifth

Has equal import for us on a night like this.

Like English warriors we were

Connected by our belief in each other’

And shared commitment to the game.
All of us with different majors,

Creeds, family stories,

Sad tales and prior glories

Planning to graduate on time

That is, in four straight years,

(A strange concept in modern times I hear)

Many, if not most of us,

Paying our own way through

And finding time for books and play

All the things college kids should do.

We were normal men in most ways

Yet, and I  also must say

Before this august group

We were exemplary men

Who believed in giving,

Leaving marks and goals

For all those who would follow.

4.

Unlike the golden jocks

On publicly financed full-paid rides

We scraped along and made our own way

To Bleed Green blood  in the light of day

Not before crowds of cheering thousands

But on lonely fields where only

Our own pride mattered.

Look around tonight

Fifty years downstream

And how many men do you know

Who can claim

To have left such a legacy?

Banded together by a game played

By Indians and called by different names,

Men Hit a Rounded Object

To the Onondaga, the Little War

Said  the Eastern Cherokee

Little Brother of War for Mohawks

And here in Michigan, “Bump Hips,”

Our Ojibwa called it.

Has there ever been a better

Description for a game

For a bunch of college men

Of Coral Gables fame?

Bumps Hips indeed

That name alone merits

And all-night, all-out grasser

Somewhere remote

On the welcoming banks

Of the beloved Old Grand River,

A paean to party-on deeds

Carefully  selected for

A deliciously naughty screed.

5.

Ours was a holy undertaking as

We willingly walked the war road

The way the Iroquois had walked theirs

Taking on all who would face us

The game a collective prayer to the creator,

Who imbued us with life

And gave us the wherewithal to face future strife.

Thus called by some back then “The Creator’s Game.”

Parties and psyching the nights

Before games, ribald and rowdy

In the extreme

Celebrations in the wake of victories

Things few mortals will never see,

If nothing else, we knew how to party,

We howling  sons of Sparty

A game of unbending wills

Ferocity expected, never to wilt,

Passing considered an insidious trick

Dodging a collision with your foe

A most heinous and cowardly act,

Always charging forward, never looking back.

The runway behind us meaning nothing at all

When our team has control of the ball.

We switch immediately from D to O

All of us on the attack.

6.

Indians then played the game all out

Slugging it out toe to toe,

Playing for the honor of self and tribe

Just as we did in our own time so long ago.

Barely conscious that we blindly

Carried on a centuries-old tradition

And so provided transportation

As bridge players say

From thence to now,

A fact of which each of us

Should be very proud.

7.

A French Jesuit was first

To write about the game the game of les heuron in 1637,

This name from the old French l’heure

Meaning rough, or bristly hair

Like a wild boar’s,

Surely like those spiky flattops

And crewcuts of our own day,

Heuron taken to mean ruffians,

A word that applied to how we looked

If any ever could.

The priest in Kanada, en Kebek

Calling the game lacrosse in French,

Father Jean de Brebeuf, a Jesuit

Later martyred in horrible ways.

Look to our Indian brethren

For part of what we were

And who we are on this fine April night,

8.

Let us recall upon the fields

Our namesakes hailed from distant Sparta
In its prime twenty four hundred years ago

Their reputation as a land-fighting force unrivaled

And what did we strive for

If not that in our campaigns?

And how did the red men put it

Avoiding collisions was  cowardly,

Spartan and Indian ways were clear

Courage, trust each other, never quit

And most of all

From any team you play

Taketh not a white of shit.

9.

I call the names of Wags and Dwarf and Schwiz

to the fore, these three men who launched us

In 1963 in the dirt arena

Of the IM Building,

Where we one night took

Grabowski’s nose remains

in a towel to Olin

For reattachment to his face,

While outside on the grass some of us danced on

The chests of other  teams’ aces

As we happily kicked their

…well you know.

We fought as one tight unit

When the gloves got cast aside

Raised up all of our bare knuckles

And let our punches fly.

We drove miles upon miles

All over the Midwest,

With no other goal than

Spreading honor to

Those five letters  across our chests.

S T A T E

10.

Some men have glory

All their lives through

While others, timid as mice, never do.

We were lucky men,

Through and through

Honored to take the field in Spartan green

In an undertaking then so new

And now so old

We can wear it like the finest patina on 18 carat gold.

There will be no grand and splashy

Acclamation for anything we did

But all of us there remember

What we did when we were

No more than kids.

Hoist a drink to teammates

Who took the field with you

And to the boys who wore

Spartan green when your day was done and through,

We share one sweet thing on this momentous night

That all of us here within memory and sight ,

Gave all we had in a most glorious fight.

11.

As the years keep passing,

So too will all of us,

As you start to take that inevitable ride

Across the River Styx

Don’t forget to pack your Bachrach Raisin

Your trusty old wooden stick,

Because, I promise you this will abide,

There will teammates  gathering

To welcome you on the other side.

There is no greater glory

In any of our lives

Than to serve side by side with men

Who proved over and over

in blood and sweat  and some tears too,

They would never do

Less than you.

12.

No price can be placed on that,

It can’t be auctioned

To the highest bidder

Or contracted to the lowest

What we were is ours alone

No more, no less,

For all time, only we who lived it

Are entitled to own it.

GO GREEN.

 

[Portage, Michigan, April 6, 2013]

SSSSSSSSSSSS

Sitting at my desk this morning i started thinking about what it means to me to be a writer, some of my approaches and values. Amazed at how the list grew, especially when I wouldn’t allow myself to write somethin down unless the statement/sentence began with an S.

(1) Spend time as a cautious investor — based on expected return.

(2) Save whatever you have, whenever you can.

(3) Stroll daily.

(4) Search endlessly for new ideas.

(5) Savor changes that make sense.

(6) Set schedules and goals, and keep to  both.

(7) Slurp life greedily and giddily.

(8) Sound off — after you think.

(9) Swearing works as well as any language — maybe better.

(10) Seem approachable to all, but let few people close.

(11) Sell your work, not your soul.

(12) Sleep when you need it, and learn how much you need.

(13) Suffer no sycophants.

(14) Selfish with your time, selfless with your moral support.

(15) Sound out opinions.

(16) Sort out your feelings regularly.

(17) Select actions carefully.

(18) Serenade life with your words.

(19) Salt, sugar, and sex are all essential in life.

(20) Sail your imagination with the wind and into it.

(21) Solitude before jollitude.

(22) Smoke life, not ciggies.

(23) Salute all who deserve it, for their accomplishments, or their efforts.

(24) Stupify audiences.

(25) Sashay with soft feet.

(26) See with your eyes closed.

(27) Sup on salmon often.

(28) Smell the roses and the shit, for the latter makes the former.

(29) Start small, aim tall.

(30) Sameness and stability  in routine are good.

(31) Stir the water after you’re on the bank.

(32) Scold all overlords, especially the secret ones.

(33) Scarred earth grows more than smooth ground.

(34) Sequellae are always secondary.

(35) Soiled hands and sweat sustain lives.

(36) See the big picture beyond the small ones.

(37) Storm the enemy’s flanks.

(38) Scars can lead to wisdom.

(39) Some things last forever.

(40) Slow down, look around.

(41) Scat comes in many forms in many places: learn to read the signs.

(42) Snivelling creates snot, no not solutions.

(43) Semi equals zero. Do it, or don’t.

(44) Sit where you want, stand up when it matters.

(45) Storms clear the air.

(46) Skill is the product your gifts produce.

(47) Stout the heart and steady the hand.

(48) Sample withy courage.

(49) Shun the stupid, the fools, the users and all politcal extremists.

(50) Savor lost and never found over never lost and never  missed.

 

Stuff Elementary Teachers Have to Deal With

Had occasion to talk to a friend of ours some weeks back. She is long-time elementary teacher, VERY difficult to surprise but she shared these ditties with me from this school year.

*   Kid discovers his mom’s tampons, passes  them out to pals,  who are then found on playground twirling them like toys.

*  Kid, gymnast, found doubled over trying to eat cheerio off tip of his penis, explained, “I only ate the top part.”

*  Drooler, tongue doesn’t work, can’t talk or communicate, just grunts and moans, wears bandannas teachers must change many times daily, all dripping drool etc. and no parapro there to help, guide, or train.  This isn’t criticizing the child, but the appropriate support system that’s not in place.