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04 Jan

About Friendship

From an essay by Michel de Montaigne,”On Affectionate Relationships.”  In The Complete Essays. De Montaigne discusses the nature of friendship, more or less confirming how our folks would tell us repeatedly we will have few real friends in life. De Montaigne lived 1533-1592. Very interesting thinker and writer. He tells us Omnino amicitiae, corroborates jam confirmatisque ingeniis et aetatibus, judicandae sunt. [Such only are to be considered friendships in which characters have been confirmed and strengthened with age.]

De Montaigne  explains,”Friends and friendships are no more than acquaintances and familiar relationships bound by some chance or some suitability, by means of which our souls support each other.” He’s right, I think. There are acquaintances of chance, pals of choice, and friends, the last category the smallest by far, and invariably marked by a bond built by having shared deep and important times in life. Sometimes your parents told you exactly how it would be. Parents used to tell us we’d be able to count all real friends on one hand — if we were lucky.  That fits my life.

The other thing about real friends is that you can not see them for years, or even decades and when you meet again, you pick right up where you were when you last met. It’s an amazing experience to have real friends.


03 Jan

First TGIF Posting of 2014

This and that: Watching Oklahoma-Alabama last night until I grew sleepy and bored and I got to thinking about how we have moved to “Sponsored” bowl games, and how disgusting it feels and sounds, so why not do the same for our government branches and quasi government operations, like the Federal Express/UPS US Postal Service. Or the AFLAC Supreme Court. Walmart White House. Exxon Senate. Boeing Air Force. Evinrude Navy. ATT Marines. Sikorsky Coast Guard. Bear Stearns FTC. Madoff Treasury Department. Pharma FDA. And so forth. Bah. Change is inevitable. Not all of it is good or positive.

People often wonder where story ideas come from, so here is a small example, not of a story extant, but of a story idea, a kernel that might be shaped into a story. It could of course make for a full novel if one was so inclined, or a short story, which what I may do with it. Here’s the skinny. I was reading in George Steiner’s Language & Silence: Essays on Language, literature and the Inhuman. It’s a hulluva piece of work and not easy in places, but Steiner spends quite a bit of time talking about the humanities and the teaching of the same.

Steiner writes, “There were superb exceptions (In Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria), but the tale is sordid and much of it remains an ugly riddle. At a time when nine thousand Jews were being exterminated each day, neither the RAF nor the US Air Force bombed the ovens or sought to blow up the camps. (as Mosquitoes, flying low had broken wide a prison in France to liberate agents of the maquis).Thought he Jewish and Polish underground made desperate plese, though the German bureaucracy  made little secret of the fact that the3 “final solution” depended on rail transport, the lines to Belsen and Auschwitz were never bombed. Why? The question has been asked of Churchill and Tedder. Has there been an adequate answer? When the Wehrmacht and Wafen SS poured into Russia, Soviet intelligence quickly noted the mass killing of Jews. Stalin forbade any public announcement of the fact. Here again, the reasons are obscure. He may not have wanted a rekindling of separate Jewish consciousness; he may have feared implicit reference to his own anti-Semitic policies. Whatever the cause, many Jews who could have fled eastward, stayed on unknowing. Later on, in the Ukraine, local gangs helped the Germans round up those who cowered in cellars and woods.

It is 1944. The story involves  a Jewish pilot; he could be American or English, or Polish, and he commands a bomber making regular runs on Germany indutry and shipping centers, including Bremen — which is only 50 miles from the Bergen-Belsen death camp. What if this officer heard of what was going on and determined on his own, with his crew, or perhaps several crews,  to bomb the railways leading to the camps? His reasoning is that this might keep thousands of people a day from reaching the camps. But it is a false premise. The trains ultimately  would only be delayed, or their keepers on the trains would simply pull them out and shoot them on the spot and bury them in mass graves. The story would be not about the decision to raid or the raid itself, but the awareness and repercussions that came afterwards, realization that the people died anyway and with not much delay. And that the bombing of those particular Railroad lines, which have been left alone throughout the war, suddenly suggested to the Germans that perhaps their Enigma codes had been broken, and because of this the officer who organized the small mutiny in target shifting finds himself in deep trouble for  what seemed a righteous  choice. This is of course the sort of story line that requires not only a great deal of historical research to provide authenticity to the setting and time, but a lot of thought about the moral forces at work in the whole sordid and ugly situation.  Ninnyvint, this here’s where stories come from. You read something or think a thought and some little voice asks, What if and you start thinking, and away you go.

Our friend Ruth DiSilvestro called today from Kansas City, Kansas, where she teaches kindergarten. One of the most enthusiastic teachers we have ever known, and funny to boot. And most of all thoughtful and observant: She has children speaking seven different languages in her class: English-Spanish-Nepali-Hmoung-Burmese-Chin-Karenni. She says the children care about each others, and are always try…ing to help each other, despite language and cultural differences, so why can’t adults get it the way kids do? Damn good question. Many of her kids’ parents speak no English, so “conferences” can be problematic. But a counselor at her school came up with a translation service that operates by phone. She dials the call-in number and listens to the menu…”For Chin, Press & 7,” or “For Burmese, Press 4,” and she presses the relevant number and a live human comes up on the line and they turn on the speaker phone and have the conference. (For Chin, Press 7 would make a great story title). And yes, I an see a story in this scenario as well. But then I ses stories everywhere. The issue is do they stick with me to the point where they force me to write them?  Couple of recent backyard photos follow. Over.


30 Dec

Mishmash of Thoughts on the Penultimate Day of 2013.

What is it about the word death that sets people to skidding away from the word? Fact that we no longer live in extended families, do not get to see our loved ones and even our friends grow old and die? Something.  Creative writing done, tonight is newspaper night and I just went through the obits of the  local paper. Didn’t know a soul, but I began reading the obits. Obit is a word from the Latin obitus, which translates to death. The past participle of this is obire, to die, specifically “ to go toward,” though nobody seems to indicate a destination.  I’m sure my old English teacher and mentor and polymath HAP will clarify the etymology as needed.

Of the 29 obits I perused, 2 (.724) used the term “passed away, or passed away peacefully or passed away suddenly, or in one case “After a Christmas visit with family, passed away.”  Only 2 of 29 said “died.” Now if we can’t address death frankly and candidly, no wonder we have such screwy language emanating from our politicians on all sorts of other subjects. Death is death, one of the few event/experiences in life (like birth) we all have in common. Why bend  a simple report to religious cant? e.g.,  Entered eternal rest, passed into the arms of her lord and savior, is now resting in God’s embrace, went home to the Lord, and so forth. 

People are of course welcome to their religious beliefs, whatever they might be.  But an obituary is defined as a news article about someone dying and in that regard ought to be strictly who, what, when, where, how and why.  Some of the obits I read did not include a birth year or age, which I found quite odd. The how of death is almost never in an obit, again an example of dodging reality? Obituaries a hundred years ago were much more realistic and factual (in some cases downright shocking, and therefore more interesting to read) than these days. Obits were still that way when we were given them to write in J-School back in the Upper Pleistocene. The difference is that nowadays, you pay the paper and the family writes the obit, rather than it being written by someone from the news staff – the exception being unless you are some sort of local dignitary, in which the staff will write the news article obit in the news section. Times change, and not always for the better. As newspapers continued down the apparent path of extinction and their staffs shrink and become younger and less experience and possessing far less “bottom” than newsies of old, how will we pass the news of deaths through our communities? Just a thought as we tumble toward year’s end.  I am hearing a line, “Lick me all over until I am shiny like a trout.” Anybody got any idea where this is coming from? I have no doubt someone in Grady Service’s life.

Ted Swoboda has scored again, sending along photos of snowy owl he took in a farm field near Saugatuck. Great stuff by a true artiste with true lacrosse blood that runs Spartan Green. Thanks, Boda. We love your work. Over.

ArticOwl 418-001 (2) ArticOwl 432-001 (1) ArticOwl 434 ArticOwl 440 ArticOwl 441 ArticOwl 468 ArticOwl 472

30 Dec

2013 Reading List

Herein, the annual posting of my year’s book reading matter, with no comment on quality or holding power of any particular book.  I have no favorite to offer because the one I am reading is always my favorite, just as the manuscript I am writing is always my favorite. I believe  in focus, and that every book has value, even if the value is to determine you don’t want to read more by that author or any further on that subject. As I’ve said before, a writer spends far more time reading than writing, and more time thinking before he writes than in the actual writing phase.   All of this is kindling for creative fire. With regards to new books, I am now working on the 10th Grady Service manuscript, with the working title of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY, a tale about deer hunting aberrations, this for fall of 2015. Next fall (2014) will see MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN, the second Lute Bapcat mystery, this one set in the Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon County country.  And a second short story collection will be out in spring 2015, working title HARDER GROUND, TALES  FROM THE DISTAFF SIDE.  Lots of work is done, more in the works, my plate remains full, but we hope to have a break this spring summer for more brook trout fishing and exploration of future book settings.

1)   Walt Harrington. Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life. [NF]

2)   Mel Starr. Unhallowed Ground. (#4)

3)   Jon Meachem. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. [NF]

4)   Judith Blahnik and Phillip S.Schulz. Mud Hens and Mavericks. [NF]

5)   John Krich. El Beisbol: The Pleasures and Passions of the Latin American Game.[NF]

6)   Erica Jong. Erica Jong On Henry Miller: The Devil At Large. [NF]

7)   Michael Delp. As If We Were Prey. [SS-E]

8)   John Simon. Paradigms Lost: Reflections on Literacy and Its Decline. [NF]

9)   George Saunders. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. [SS]

10) Bernard DeVoto. Across The Wide Missouri. [NF]

11) Bernard DeVoto. Mark Twain’s America. [NF]

12) Raymond W. Thorp and Robert Bunker. Crow Killer. [NF]

13) William Golding. The Inheritors.

14) Sebastian de Grazia. Machiavelli in Hell. [NF]

15) Patsy Sims. Literary Nonfiction: Learning by Example. [NF]

16) Joseph Heywood. Hard Ground, Woods Cop Stories. [PROOF]

17) Bernard Cornwell. 1356.

18) Adam Hochschild. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. [NF]

19) Patrick McGinley. Goosefoot.

20) Colin Dickey. Cranioklepty. [NF]

21) Tony Hillerman. Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir. [NF]

22) Carl Van Doren. Benjamin Franklin. [NF]

23) Charles Norman. e.e.cummings: The Magic Maker [NF]

24) Thomas Berger. The Return of Litle Big Man.

25) William Price Fox. Satchel Paige’s America. [NF]

26) Bob Lemieux. Off Wing: Coaching in the Bowels of the Dead Wings in the 1970s.  [MS]

27) Alexandra Horowitz. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. [NF]

28) Jeff Hirsch. The Eleventh Plague.

29) Robert Ryan. Early One Morning.

30) Antony Beevor & Artemis Cooper. Paris: After the Liberation, 1944-1949. [NF]

31) Antony Beevor. The Mystery of Olga Chekhova. [NF]

32) Ronald Weber. Riverwatcher. [ARC]

33) Arnaldur Indridason. Operation Napoleon.

34) Joseph Heywood. Hard Ground, Woods Cop Stories. [SS]

35) William Golding. The Ineheritors.

36) Robert W Peterson. Only the Ball Was White. [NF]

37) Sigurd F. Olson. The Singing Wilderness. [NF]

38) Cesar Mallan. Short Guide to a Happy Dog.[NF]

39) Dominick Cavallo. A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History. [NF]

40) Wm R. Forstchen. One Second After.

41) Henry Hart. The World As A Lie: James Dickey. [NF]

42) Insiders’ Guide. San Antonio.[NF]

43) Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa. A Taste of Ancient Rome.[NF]

44) Aldous Huxley. Beyond The Mexique Bay [NF]

45) Jason Turbow &  Michael Duca. The Baseball Codes:  Beanballs, Sign-Stealing, & Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime. [NF]

46) Francisco E.Balderrama & Richard A. Santillan. Mexican American Baseball in Los Angles. [NF]

47) Richard A. Santillan, Mark A. Ocegueda and Terry A. Cannon. Mexican American Baseball in the Inland Empire. [NF]

48) Adrian Burgos Jr. Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line. [NF]

49) Zack Hemple. The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals and Secrets Beneath the Surface.[NF]

50) Peter Levine. A.G. Spalding and the Rise of Baseball. [NF]

51) Paul Dickson. The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign-Stealing Have Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime. [NF]

52) Paul Dickson. The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime. [NF]

53) Rob Ruck. Raceball: How The Major Leagues Colonized The Black and Latin Game. [NF]

54) Robert K. Adair. The Physics of Baseball. [NF]

55) Buzz Bissinger. 3 Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of A Manager. [NF]

56) Zack Hample. Watching Baseball Smarter. [NF]

57) Bernard Malamud. The Natural.

58) Dirk Hayhurst. The  Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of A Minor League Veteran. [NF]

59) Chris Ballard. One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, and Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season. [NF]

60) Jules Tygiel. Past Time: Baseball As History. [NF]

61) Robert Elias. The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad. [NF]

62) Jack Stallings, Bob Bennett, Eds. Baseball Strategies: Your Guide to the Game Within the Game. [NF]

63) Harriet Doerr. Consider This, Senora.

64) Bill Veeck with Ed Linn. The Hustler’s Handbook. [NF]

65) Antony Beevor. The Mystery of Olga Checkhova. [NF]

66) Amy Waldman. The Submission.

67) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One [Page Proofs]

68) Jim Bishop. The Day Christ Died.

69) John Gardner. The Life and Times of Chaucer. [NF]

70) Walter M. Miller, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. (1959)

71) Susan Cain. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. [NF]

72) Ellen Airgood. Prairie Evers.

73) Henry Adams. Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original. [NF]

74) Percy Lubbock. The Craft of Fiction. (1922). [NF]

75) Kenneth Burke. A Grammar of Motives (1945) [NF]

76) Daniel Kahneman. Thinking Fast and Slow. [NF]

77) Margaret A. Salinger. Dream Catcher. [NF]

78) David P. Wagner. Cold Tuscan Stone. [ARC]

79) Paul Dorion. Trespasser.

80) Bob Lemieux. Off Wing. [NF]

81) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One. [Proofs]

82) John Le Carre. A Delicate Truth.

83) Vladimir Nabokov. Speak, Memory. [NF]

84) Philip Mason. Kipling: The Glass, The Shadow and the Fire. [NF]

85) David Foster Wallace. Consider the Lobster and Other Essays. [NF]

86) Joseph Heywood. Killing A Cold One. [Proofs]

87) James and Kay Salter. Life is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days. [NF]

88) Daniel Swift. Shakespeare’s Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizbethan Age. [NF]

89) David Foster Wallace. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. [NF]

90) Arthur Phillips. The Tragedy of Arthur.

91) William Benzon. Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture. [NF]

92) John Heywood. The Proverbes. [NF] [1546]

93) William Shakespear. Twelfth Night. [D]

94) Thomas Dekker. The Wonderful Year, 1603 [NF] [1603]

95) Thomas Dekker. The Gull’s Hornbook. [NF] 1609]

96) Thomas Dekker.  The Seven Deadly Sins of London.[NF] [1606]

97) Robert Greene. A Notable Discovery of Coosnage: Now Daily Practiced by Sundry Lewd Persons, Called Connie-catchers, and Crosse-Biters. [NF] [1591]

98) Robert Greene. Greene’s Groat’s-Worth,Bought With a Million of Repentence. [1592]

99) Maggie Secara. A Compendium of Common Knowledge, 1558-1603: Elizabethan Commonplaces for Writers, Actors & Re-Enactors. [NF]

100)             Dan Baum. Gun Guys: A Road Trip. [NF]

101)             John Jeremiah Sullivan. Pulphead, Essays. [NF]

102)             Katherine Rogers, Ed and Intro. The Selected Writings of Samuel Johnson. [NF]

103)             James Boswell. Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson. [NF]

104)             William Price Fox. Southern Fried Chicken Plus 6.

105)             John Irving. The Imaginary Girlfriend: A Memoir. [NF]

106)             William Price Fox. Ruby Red.

107)             William Zinsser. On Writing Well. [NF]

108)             John Keats. Of Time and An Island: The Writer reflects On His Life in the Thousand Islands – and On Life in America. [NF]

109)             Henry Hart. Seamus Heaney: Poet of Contrary Progressions. [NF]

110)             James Dickey. Buckdancer’s Choice. [P]

111)             Judith Thurmahn. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller. [NF]

112)             William Price Fox. Wild Blue Yonder.

113)             Gay Talese. A Writer’s Life. [NF]

114)             William Price Fox. Chitlin Strut & Other Madrigals. [NF]

115)             Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa. A Taste of Ancient Rome. [NF]

116)             Louise Catherine Anderson. After the Sun Has Set: Memories of 1898. [NF]

117)             Pico Iyer. Tropical Classical: Essays From Several Directions. [NF]

118)             Washington Irving, Mary E. Litchefield, Ed. Irving’s Sketch Book: Complete Edition [1901] [NF]

119)             Robin Cook. Chromsome Six.

120)             Arthur Phillips. The Egyptologist.

121)             Arthur Phillips. The Tragedy of Arthur.

122)             George Sanders. The Braindead Megaphone:  Essays. [NF]

123)             Bernard Devoto. The World of Fiction (1950) [NF]

124)             Gary Gildner. Cleaning A Raindow: Poems. [P]

125)             Gary Gildner. The Bunker in the Parlsey Fields. [P]

126)             American Prosecutors Research Institute. Animal Cruelty Protetion: Opportunities for Early Response to Crime and Interpersonal Violence. [NF]

127)             Norman Lewis. The World, The World: Memoirs of a Legendary Traveler. [NF]

128)             Norman Lewis. Jackdaw Cake: An Autobiography. [NF]

129)             Norman Lewis. Naples ’44 [NF]

130)             Norman Lewis. The Honoured Society: The Sicilian Mafia Observed. [NF]

131)             Norman Lewis: A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. [NF]

132)             William Price Fox. Southern Fried Plus 6. [SS]

133)             Vince Flynn. Term Limits.

134)             Henry Hart. Seamus Heaney: Poet of Contrary Progressions.[NF]

135)             Norman Lewis: Golden Earth. [NF]

136)             Norman Lewis: A Goddess in the Stones. [NF]

137)             The Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club. Red Gold and Tarnished Silver: Mines and Minerals of the Lake Superior Copper District. 2d edition [NF]

138)             Joseph R. Papineau. Old Victoria: Forest Queen of Copper Mines, 1841-1991: 150 years West of the Ontonagon. [NF]

139)             Clarence J. Monette. Camp Sidnaw: A World War II German Prisoner of War Camp. [NF]

140)             Clarence J. Monette. Houghton County’s Street Cars and Electric Park. [NF]

141)             B.H. Johanson. Ontonagon: The River and the Land: An Essay on the History and Development of Ontonagon County. [NF]

142)             James K. Jamison. The Mining Ventures of Ontonagon County. [NF]

143)             Knox Jamison. The History of Ontonagon County Towns. “Ewen and South End Towns, Ontonagon, Rockland –Greenland -Mass, Bergland and Silver City. [NF]

144)             Angus Murdoch. Boom Copper: The Story of the First U.S. Mining Boom. [NF]

145)             Henry Kisor. Hang Fire.

146)             Kurt Vonnegut. We Are Who We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works. [NF]

147)             Dan Chabot. Godspeed: A Love Story.

148)             James K. Jamison. This Ontonagon Country: The Story of An American Frontier. [NF]

149)             Brian Doyle. Mink River.

150)             Christopher Fowler. Plastic.

151)             George Saunders. Pastorella: Stories and a Novella. [SS]

152)             Louis de  Bernieres. Notwithstanding.

153)             Paul Doiron. Massacre Pond.

154)             Paul Doiron. Bad Little Falls.

155)             C.J.Box. The Highway.

156)             C.J. Box. The Breaking Point.

157)             George Saunders. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil.

158)             George Saunders. In Persuasion Nation. [SS]

159)             S.C. Gwynne. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. [NF]

160)             Gerard Helferich. Theodore Roosevelt and The Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912. [NF]

161)             Clive James. Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts. [NF]

162)             James Salter. Gods of Tin: The Flying Years. [NF]

163)             Clive James. Unreliable Memoirs. [NF]

164)             John Christopher. The Death of Grass.

165)             Phillip Lopate. To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. [NF]

166)             James Salter. A Sport and A Pastime.

167)             James Salter. Last Night: Stories. [SS]

168)             James Salter. Light Years.

169)             James Salter. Dusk and Other Stories. [SS]

170)             William Morris. News From Nowhere. [NF]

171)             Elmore Leonard. Fire in The Hole And Other Stories. [SS]

172)             John Jeremiah Sullivan. Pulphead Essays. [NF]

173)             Charles Bukowski. Ham on Rye.

174)             John McPhee. Silk Parachute. [NF]

175)             David McCullough. Brave Companions. [NF]

176)             Josh Greenberg. Rivers of Sand: Fly Fishing Michigan and The Great Lakes Region. [NF]

177)             Pete Wurdock. Bending Water and Stories Nearby.[SS]

178)             Roy Adkins. Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World. [NF]

179)             Scott Farris. Kennedy & Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endure. [NF]

180)              Mark Kurzem. The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father’s Nazi Boyhood. [NF]

181)             Reginald Bretnor, Ed. The Craft of Science Fiction: A Symposium on Writing Science Fiction and Science Fantasy. [NF]

182)             Robert Claiborne. Our Marvelous Native Tongue: The Life and Times of the English Language. [NF]

183)             Clive James. As of This Writing. [NF]

184)             Paula McLain. The Paris Wife.

185)             Joseph Weisberg. An Ordinary Spy.

186)             Richard Hoyt. The Weatherman’s Daughters.

187)             James Dickey. Alnilam.

188)             Mel Gussow. Edward Albee: A Singular Journey: A Biography [NF]

189)             Tony Hillerman. Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir. [NF]

190)             William H. Gass. Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts. [NF]

191)             Hakan Nesser. Munster’s Case.

192)             Martin Cruz Smith. Tatiana.

193)             Larry Lankton. Hallowed Grouond: Copper Mining and Community Building on Lake Superior, 1840s-1990s.

194)             Umberto Eco. Inventing the Enemy. [NF]

195)             Joe R. Lansdale. The Bottoms.

196)             Robert D. Kaplan. The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate. [NF]

197)             Ron Riekki, ed. The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works.

198)             Philip Caputo. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. [NF]

199)             Philip Meyer. The Son.

200)             William H. Glass. Life Sentences. [NF]

201)             Joe R. Lansdale. The Thicket.

202)             Isiaah Berlin. The Sense of Reality. [NF]

203)             John E. Griebel. Cultural Landscape Report: Nonesuch Mine & Village. [NF][Noobs Libes]

204)             John Baird. Biennial Report of The (Michigan) Department of Conservation, 1925-1926. [NF][Randy Clarke]

205)             James Atlas. Bellow: A Biography. [NF]

206)             Peter Levi. The Life and Times of William Shakespeare. [NF} [1988]

207)             Louis De Bernieres. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Neather Parts.

208)             John Jeremiah Sullivan. Pulphead: Essays. [NF]

209)             Adam Sisman. An Honourable Englishmanj: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper.[NF]

210)             Michael Dean. I Hogarth.

211)             Norman Lewis. The Missionaries: God Against the Indians. [NF]

212)             Richard Davenport-Hines, Ed. Hugh Trevor Roper: The Wartime Journals. [ND]

213)             Phillip Lopate. Portrait Inside My Head (Essays). [NF]

214)             John Matteson. The Lives of Margaret Fuller. [NF]

215)             Carlos Eire. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy. [NF]

216)             Robert Wilson. Instruments of Darkness.

217)             E.B. White. The Essays of E.B. White [NF]

218)             Ann Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason. [NF]

219)             Edgar Wallace. The Fourth Plague. [1933]

220)             Phillip Lopate. Against Joie De Vire: Personal Essays. [NF]

221)             James Salter. There & Then: The Travel Writing of James Salter [NF]

222)             John McPhee. The Ransom of Russian Art. [NF]

223)             Jonathan Swift. Gullivers Travels.

224)              T.H. White. The Age of Scandal. [NF]

225)             John Simon. Paradigms Lost: Reflections on Literacy and Its Decline. [NF]

226)             Amir D. Aczel. The Jesuit & The Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution and the Search for Peking Man. [NF]

227)             George Steiner. Language & Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman. [NF] [1958]

228)             Catherin Drinker Bowen. Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man. [NF][1963]

229)             C.J. Box. Breaking Point.

230)            Jaroslav Pelikan. Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture. [NF]

21 Dec

Photo Blasts from the Past

My former pilot Art Smith (and wife MaryJo)  sent along some great pix of some of my artwork from the 1960s. Art drove B-57s in the Guard, then RF-101s in Vietnam before joining us in the tanker force. Great guy, great pilot, and our irrepressible super pro boom operator Rick Clark. The photo of the wall shows an oil painting I did during that time, and didn’t remember it until Art sent along a photo a couple of years back. Now he sends this  big cartoon, which I don’t remember at all, but I certainly recognize the style and technique.  Over.


21 Dec

Cougar Shot in Schoolcraft County: First Confirmed MI kill since 1906

DNR officials: Bay County residents arrested on suspicion of killing cougar in Upper Peninsula

                    Trail camera photo depicting a cougar in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in December 2013. DNR officials believe two Bay County residents illegally killed this same cougar. (Courtesy the Department of Natural Resources)
SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY, MI — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has arrested two Bay County residents on suspicion of killing a cougar in the Upper Peninsula, adding it would be the first such feline killed by humans in the state in more than a century.

DNR officials last week investigated a tip that a cougar had been killed in Schoolcraft County and confirmed such a slaying did occur at a hunting camp. Investigators gathered enough evidence to apprehend two Bay County residents in connection with the alleged illegal killing, they report.

Investigators are to turn over the results of their investigation to the office of Schoolcraft County Prosecutor Timothy R. Noble, who will determine if charges will be filed.

Ed Golder, public information officer with the DNR, declined to divulge the suspects’ names, ages or sexes.

Under Michigan law, illegally killing a cougar is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. The wild felines, also known as mountain lions, are classified as an endangered species in the state.

The DNR’s Wildlife Division recently confirmed that a trail camera had snapped a photo of a cougar in the same area. Investigators believe the animal in the photo is the same one killed. 

The DNR reports that cougars disappeared from the state in the early 1900s. The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.

Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed photos or tracks of cougars on 23 occasions in 10 Upper Peninsula counties. The animals are believed to be young individuals dispersing from established populations in the Dakotas in search of new territory. There is no evidence of a breeding population of cougars in the state.

The Bath-based Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, though, has argued that cougars resurged in the state in the 1950s and are present in the Lower Peninsula, even as far south as Bay County and the Thumb area. In an effort to prove this contention, they previously presented photos of cougars they claim were taken in Oscoda and Alcona counties.

The Wildlife Division’s specially trained cougar team welcomes citizen reports of possible cougar evidence or sightings. Cougar photos and other evidence — such as tracks, scat or cached kills — should be reported to a local DNR office or through the DNR’s online reporting form at

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the recent alleged killing or other poaching cases to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800. 

Information can also be reported online at Tips and information can be left anonymously; information that leads to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward funded by the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund.

JOE-NOTE:  FYI, I’ve never paid much attention to any claims by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, but include it here because it was in the Bay City Times story.

21 Dec

Eagles in the Air

My pal (former Michigan State lacrosse coach Ted Swoboda) sent out a note earlier this week, with lots of interesting photos attached. Here’s his note. (Thanks, Boda):

“Drove out to Davenport Iowa this week after seeing a daily eagle county at the Fulton Lock last week. Wednesday I viewed more than 500 bald eagles at Lock #13…back in the trees. The photographers at the dam told me there were upwards of 1,000 eagles over the weekend. These numbers are unusually high for this time of year, even though we have had temperatures nearly ten degrees above normal for the past two weeks. The locals attribute the high eagle count to a die-off of perch and sheep-head, both providing a huge food source at the base of the Mississippi River dams in that area.

When I took an ornithology course at M.S.U. in the 70s the population of bald eagles in the U.S. had declined to a total of 500 breeding pairs. Ted Swoboda.

Photographs follow. The recovery of eagles can be attributed to the stoppage of DDT use and the point is that when we see manmade problems in our environment, we can reverse the trend and end the problem. But first we have to see it. And THEN  COLLECTIVELY do something with our central focus being the problem, not politics or political parties. What parties doesn’t want clean air, clean water and lots of eagles overhead?  Over.

LockEagles 074 Lock 13&14 009 LockEagles 204 LockEagles 223 LockEagles 372 LockEagles 528 LockEagles 583 LockEagles 629 LockEagles 450 LockEagles 566

16 Dec

One Call for a Conservation Officer

Wicklund Does

This conservation officer has had complaints on a certain house near a UP town for several years, allegations of night-shooting deer and other illegal activity. Recently, he does to the place, which has a giant bait pile in the front yard, and he knocks on the door. Out in the yard in the trees there is a pile of does hanging (See Photo Above). The inhabitants open the door and inside he spies two jars of dope and some joints laying on a table. There is also a loaded .22 in the window. “Used to shoot rabbits,” the inhabs claim. CO says, “But all I see is deer tracks and blood, no rabbit tracks anywhere in the yard.” Then the stories begin to crumble. The CO has to interview four suspects and keeping them apart is difficult, being a lone officer. After interviews the CO estimates six of the 12 does were shot either illegally or filling another person’s tag. After interviewing the four bozos, the CO points out that three of the deer do not have .50 cal holes in them and the house owner steps forward and says he shot the three with his crossbow. When the officer explains crossbow season is closed, the man says he isn’t changing his story “again,” and he will admit to killing the three deer illegally. Three other deer have “gone home” across the bridge and the CO has reason to believe they were also illegally shot, but the subject will not answer his home or cell phone. Another CO  will visit the suspect.  Meanwhile, my friend says he thinks the camp folk learned: 1) Don’t leave a giant bait pile in your front yard, and 2) Check who is knocking on the door before you open it. Makes you wonder how many deer are illegally killed every year and usually by the same jamokes complaining the wolves are killing all the deer.

This is an example of how our CO shortage cuts our officers’  effectiveness.  A second officer or partner would have been able to keep the four suspects apart and allowed for interviews to be conducted without cross contamination.

Holy Pete. What a buncha whackadoodles! Over.


11 Dec

Signing Saturday in Kalamazoo.

This coming Saturday, 4th Annual Author Day at Kazoo Books. I’m there 3-4:30 p.m.
When: December 14, 2013 all-day
Where: Kazoo Books, 2413 Parkview Avenue, Kalamazoo,MI 49008
Join us at our Parkview store on Saturday, December 14, for our 4th Annual Author Day!  We’ll be hosting authors all day.
Artisans that day:…
Beadventure – bead jewelry by mentored youth   Ministry with Community’s – soaps & candles   House Jewelry – Linda Kekic – fused glass jewelry   Artist – Mary Brodbeck – woodblock prints
* Author Ruth McNally Barshaw is creator of the Ellie McDoodle series, an intermediate chapter book.
* Leslie Helakoski is author and illustrator of Dog Gone Feet and Fair Cow, and is author of the Big Chicken series as well as Woolbur.
* Janet Ruth Heller has written How the Moon Regained Her Shape, a story about bullying for children of all ages.
*Grace Tiffany has written several books set in the time of Shakespeare, My Father Had a Daughter and Will. Now her new book is called Paint and takes us back to Elizabethan court.
* Joan Donaldson is an organic farmer and has written a book about the life of growing and farming in Michigan, Wedded to the Land.
* Tom Small‘s title Using Native Plants to Restore Community has become a regional handbook for protecting our native landscape.
* Hedy Habra is a local poet and author of Tea in Heliopolis and Flying Carpets.
New Issues Press is at Western Michigan University and has just produced a gift book of regional poetry and art called Poetry in Michigan. Visit with a few of the authors represented in this beautiful book.
* Mary Brodbeck, one of the artists in the book will be here with some of her special art.
* Judi Rypma will join us. She is author of Amber Room and Rapunzel’s Hair.
* Jacqueline Carey is a local author of the historical fantasy series, Kushiel’s Legacy, The Sundering epic and the new Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series, Autumn Bones.
* Sarah Zettel joins us from the east side of Michigan. She is author of a vampire chef mystery series, the Isavalta fantasy series and is now writing for young adults.  Her latest historical novel of mystery is called Palace of Spies.
Joe Heywood is back from the north country to chat with us. His latest is Killing a Cold One and he can talk about his next book, soon to be out.
D. E. Johnson is suburb at historical description of Detroit. His latest mystery with Will and Elizabeth is Detroit Shuffle
Mel Starr is continuing his medieval mystery adventures with Rest Not in Peace, just released.
Albert Bell, from Grand Rapids is joining the mystery crew.  Try out his latest historical mystery set in Italy shortly after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
03 Dec

Nooks & Crannies in the Pileated Forest

Ran Shaksper in the pileated forest yesterday. Struck me how man hiding places there are for small critturs and creatures.  A Hobbit-like world. Photos tell the story. No captions necessary. Over.


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