Monthly Archives: March 2016




I know some good storytellers .

One of them has just published a novel . I haven’t read it yet , so I’m not going to shamelessly plug it in this post . I ordered a copy and it should arrive at my house early next week . I’m a slow reader , so it’ll take me awhile to read it . Then , eventually , I might do a book review , although  I never do book reviews . Probably won’t do the book  justice when I do . But , you know , I’ll give it a shot .

I’ve read the first three chapters of the novel several months ago ; maybe a year or two ago , when it was a work-in-progress .  I couldn’t  tell where the story was going with only that bit of reading .  I’m glad that the book was finished , though .

Life is full of unfinished writing . Well , maybe that’s mainly just my life . ( I know that when Ada reads this little admission of mine she’ll be nodding her head . As soon as she sees me , afterward , she’ll say : ” Well , when are you going to do something about it ? ” )

free lunch drawingI have to admit something , at about this point , ( or point out the obvious ) that  inexplicably , I seem to be under the impression that there is , indeed ,  such as thing as a free lunch . What I mean is , in other words , no one told me when or where to line up to get a type A personality so I missed out on that . Oh , well !

I’ll get to that book review , however , nevertheless .

Okay , here’s a hint about the novel .




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lost spoon

Sometimes I get a favorite thing stuck in my brain that I’d like to keep . Maybe you’ve got your favorite things . If so , then  you know what I’m talking about .

This is not a big one . That’ll be obvious . But , nevertheless , small things can be little grains of irritation or satisfaction . I like to scoop my coffee with an old tin tablespoon . Yeah . That’s it . That’s the big topic of today’s post .

Some months ago my little tin coffee spoon disappeared . I looked . I’m a good finder . I went through in my mind all of the logical places . Nothing . Nowhere .

I looked again , of course . Twice in likely places . Three times . Weeks passed . Nada . I was baffled .

They asked Dan’l Boone had he ever been lost , and he said he’s never been lost . He said he’d been confused for weeks at a time , but he’d never been lost . As I heard Ada tell someone today : Everything works out in the end . If it hasn’t worked out , then it’s not the end .

Last week a friend visited . She wanted decaffeinated coffee . I keep the de-caf in a cabinet above the refrigerator .It sits there for months , sometimes , waiting its turn . Patient . Maybe bored to death ; maybe relieved . I don’t know for sure . I’m not really a coffee aficionado .

When I got the can of de-caf down and opened it up , guess what ? There it was , sitting in the dark brown  de-caf  . The spoon . It hadn’t changed , from what I could tell . Who knows , though . I was happy to have it back , anyway .

End of story , I guess. It’s just a spoon , after all . Where it came from , I don’t remember . Seems like it’s been around forever, now  old and grey , scratched , and somewhat worn and dented .


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A short nature walk along a National City wetland.

I made a cool discovery the other day. A little-known hiking path in San Diego’s South Bay provides a view of a beautiful natural wetland. According to signs that I saw, the small estuary bet…

Source: A short nature walk along a National City wetland.

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irish car bomb


I know ; I know . Saint Patrick’s Day is gone . Nevertheless , I will give you a little Paddy Day advice . Take it or leave it .

I’m not one for mixed drinks , or exotic drinks . I like margaritas , but haven’t had one for a long time . I stick with beer , and a little whiskey now and then .

Friends of mine drink  martinis with twists of lemon . Shaken , not stirred , and all that , I guess . I never pay attention . I sometimes buy them their special tonic , though . Tonic makes all the difference , I guess . And how the lemon peel is cut , maybe . Then you probably have to swirl the mixture  just the right way , I think , and sip it at just the right angle , mouth to glass . The type of glass matters , too , of course . It’s a tricky deal to mix a good martini , now that I think of it .

People do the same thing with beer . Some people . Not my people ; but some people . Bottle’s got to be green and not brown . Certain temperature . Not too cold . From a glass , for some , rather than a stein , because part of the experience is visual . Maybe it was from a brown bottle , not green . Clear bottles are probably out ,  at any rate . I’m not schooled properly on the whole thing . I’ll admit that .

I picked up some real estate publications  at Lake Arrowhead recently . Not that I plan to buy one of the multi-million dollar lakeside mansions there  any time soon ; but I like to stay abreast of prices of things I’ll never have . Makes me appreciate what I do have . Everything’s relative . Mere millionaires are continually being put to shame by billionaires these days , I hear . The poor millionaires slink around like second -rate citizens , shamelessly shunned at billionaire meetings ,  or something like that . I don’t have to worry about that , though , so I’m okay .

Anyway , I found a little recipe at the corner of a page in one of these real estate pamphlets for Irish Car Bomb . It was easy to snip out , it being small and on the corner of the page , so I snipped it out and stuck it in my wallet . You’ve probably heard the TV ad that asks : ” What’s in your wallet ?” Well , in my case ,  now you know . That car bomb recipe and a couple twenty-dollar bills that degrade quickly , mysteriously , into fives and ones when I’m not looking . 1945, first atomic bomb dropped

The day after St. Patrick’s day I decided to try the Irish Car Bomb recipe . I wouldn’t do it on the day itself for several reasons . First , this ‘car bomb’ stuff is not politically correct , for one , and dredges up stereotypes of the Irish , and glorifies violence . That kind of stuff . When I was first in Poland , years ago , and my friends over there spoke no English , one of them used to say to me , pointing at me , ” Irish . Boom , boom . ” He thought it was very funny . A connection .  Second reason not on St. Patrick’s Day is  , as I’ve said , I’m not one for exotic drinks . This is slightly exotic . Or , just weird .

Here’s the recipe :

Serves ; 1

Ingredients :

3/4 fluid Irish whiskey

3/4 fluid ounce Irish cream liqueur

6 fluid ounces Irish stout beer


Fill a shot glass with half Irish whiskey and half Irish cream.

Pour the Irish stout beer into a pint glass. Drop in the shot glass and drink entire contents at once ! Please drink responsibly . 

Now , I should point out ,  I’ve left the typos in . The person who transcribed the recipe may have already had a couple of these car bombs before writing the thing down . When I make a mistake I’m willing to own up to it ; but , I don’t feel like being blamed for someone else’s mistakes . At least not in this case .

I realized that I indeed had all three ingredients for this drink , at the same time , it having been indigestionSt. Patrick’s Day the day before , and that it would be now or never . Curiosity got the better of me . I mixed up the stuff and told Ada what I was about to do . Just in case .

” How is it ? ” Ada asked after I had the thing mixed and tasted.

It’s no good at all . The Irish cream curdles in the Guinness , first of all . Makes for a frothy but kind of a spoiled mess at the top . The whiskey goes to waste waiting at the bottom of the glass , swamped by the stout . The stout drowns in the whitish froth . Don’t ever make an Irish Car Bomb . Stay away from bombs altogether , if you ask me .

I didn’t really do the bomb , though . I’ll admit that . When the recipe says ‘drop the shot glass’ it means drop the shot glass . Drop it into the pint glass . College kid stuff , maybe . Somewhat unsanitary , anyway , I think . Stupid . Ridiculous . Of course , that little negligence on my part might have meant all the difference . Maybe , had I dropped the shot glass with the booze into the glass of Guinness and then drunk the entire contents at once , as the recipe told me to do ,  I might  have experienced a  surprisingly delicious and refreshing drink . Maybe , in my next life , I’ll test that theory out .

I don’t usually give advice ; but , in this case , I feel compelled to  say :  don’t use real estate brochures to find  Saint Patrick’s Day drink recipes . And please drink responsibly .


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cat cosmo


Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function —-Garrison Keillor


I been tryin’ to teach my cat Cosmo to think outside the box (somebody should !), but she sits around all day waiting only for food . Food and more food !cosmo in box 2

How about going out and catching a mouse ? That’s what cats are  s’posed to do , isn’t it ? Or is that notion simply a myth ?  Folklore ? Old wives’ tale ? Well , you will tell me , no doubt , when I squawk about this : Cats  just play with mice ; they don’t eat them .

No. I think real cats eat mice . I tell Cosmo : Cat-up and go out to find a mouse !cosmo coyote fighter 018

But no .

When , when was it that real cats gave up the old traditions and in our modern world  became such pussies ?  I’ll bet Egyptian cats , or Iraqi cats , or maybe rural Lithuanian cats ,or Turkish cats , or cats on the south side of Chicago , somewhere ,  still go out and hunt prey . Could be wrong about that , however .

Cosmo whines and talks to us until we reach for a can of cat food . Yeah , Ada and I are enablers , of course . Our friend Sally told me Cosmos howls . I don’t think she howls , but she talks passionately and assertively from time to time , especially when she’s hungry . That’s for sure .2 cats

How come it’s a Dog Eat Dog world but no one mentions Cat Eat Cat ? And , by the way , I think dogs bite one another but don’t often eat one another . Cats bite too . And scratch , of course . There are cat fights , naturally , and cat scratch fever . And , cats on hot tin roofs , and all the cats wanna dance with sweet little sixteen , but   no one I know of  says : It’s a Cat’s Life . IMG_3040

My cat , Cosmo , is female . She may have a masculine name , but so be it ;  it is what it is . She’s lived with it . She’s called “he” all the time by people , but Cosmo doesn’t seem to notice . She ignores people equally  and with equanimity  .cosmo in box

She’d be an avid  reader too , I’m sure , if she ever learned to read .She’d read the classics, I think .  Maybe she’d be on Facebook . She’s a dreamer , evidently , sleeping most of the day and night  snoring and moving sometimes as if engaged in some sudden dream-world activity .  Cosmo might be a fierce hunter in her dreams , for all I know.  Cosmo may even sleepwalk . I’ve never been sure .

Who knows ! I don’t know . I don’t know what cats think  . Someone said something about the inexplicity ( inexplicability ? , inexplicableness ? ) of women and cats , and that  we dogs and men better just relax and accept it .

George Carlin said : Meow means woof in cat .  But George didn’t know . He was just joking . Ada claims that when a cat looks you in the eye and blinks , it means something . I think it means the feline  loves and admires you and promises to  follow you through thick and thin . But maybe not.

Picture 078


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Richie Havens: Roots, Freedom, Bob Dylan & The Beatles!

Again I feel the urge to reblog a post from the Jukebox . This time a tribute to Richie Havens . This is a consistently interesting music blog which you will enjoy .

The Immortal Jukebox

‘I only know the first and last song I am going to sing when I go onstage. That’s the way I have always done it. I was moved to do this and sing these songs. My whole thing was that I was sharing something with everyone else that was give to me.’ (Richie Havens)

Richie Havens didn’t spend too much time, ‘strategising’ his career. He didn’t worry about developing his, ‘Brand’ or murmur in the night about the magnitude of his digital reach.

No! What Richie did is what great musicians have always done – he searched for true songs to sing and sang them with all the passion at his command to make a powerful physical, spiritual and emotional connection with his audience be they numbered in the dozens or the hundreds of thousands.

It seems to me that Richie Havens triumph as an artist was to make the…

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the burning of washington

This is a Catholic school story again .

I liked to have my classes make flour-and-water maps . A little geography . A little history . A little fun . There’s less and less of that kind of thing going on now in these days of testing , teaching to the test , and testing again . No test for flour-and-water mapping  !

This particular year the students each  chose a state . They made a dough shape of their state and I put the little dough states in an oven in the teachers’ lounge at a low heat to dry out .

In Catholic elementary schools , on Fridays , the school troops over to the church for noon Mass . So we were sitting in the church . One of my students said to me : Do you smell smoke , Mr. H ?

No , I didn’t .

I think I smell smoke , another student said .  I didn’t . I figured that they were grasping for any little distraction . Concentrate on the Mass , I said .

And then there were sirens . A fire truck .  Then more sirens . Fire trucks . Close by .

And then the light bulb went on in my head : I left the states drying in the oven !

I rushed out into a mass of firemen scooting around with extinguishers , walkie talkies . The school was surrounded . Fire crews were unravelling their hoses . It’s just smoke from the oven , one of them reassured  me . No ignition .

No ignition , I told the principal as she rushed into the building . Black smoke billowed out the door as she entered . Open the windows , she said . You did this ? she asked matter-of-factly .   She knew .

It was Washington , I said . It still had cardboard on the bottom and the cardboard caused the smoke .

Washington ? she said .  She looked at me with an unexpectedly tolerant stare . Help me get this smoke out of here , she said . And she was done . She never said another word about it .

The fire department always sends everyone when it’s a school , the pastor said to me as he passed me in the hallway . He was carrying a fire extinguisher . I wonder what happened ? he said to the principal .

It was Washington , she said to him . He looked at her briefly as if he should know what she meant , and then he sped away with his extinguisher .

Good one , Mr. H.  ! , one of my students softly whispered to me later . You burned Washington .
There was a fathomless measure of collegial sympathy in his conspiratorial gaze .


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