Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Sensibly the new year began on solstice , the 22nd, with the increasing of daylight. 

But Happy arbitrarily picked day for the New Year.

(Actually, you would think the New Year should begin with the beginning of Spring on March 21st.  That is the end of Ol'Man winter and the beginning of new birth - birds migrate, plants spring up from the earth, bears and other animals leave hibernation and there  is a new vitality felt by all that live close to the earth.   But, of course, calendars are a product of religion, and that tends to fuck up everything

Anyway, Best wishes to all
and to all a good night.
the Ol'Buzzard

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, is, without question, the most famous horror novel ever written.   The book is a compilation of letters and journal entries that sets the stage for all vampire fiction to come. 

Francis Ford Coppola’s motion picture version of Dracula follows the plot as closely as any movie can in condensing a book to a two hour movie script.

But, to receive the full breadth and depth of the story you should place Dracula on your reading list, preferably to be read just before bed.   

If you find yourself hooked on the book Dracula you should follow it with Dracula’s Heir by Sam Stall. 

In 1897 Archibald Constable & Co. published Bram Stoker’s Dracula… For some reason still debated by scholars, the first chapter of Dracula was cut from the book just weeks before publication.   Here it becomes the central clue in a spinetingling original interactive mystery.
Excerpt from  

And then there is Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot: the scariest vampire book ever written and the worst vampire movie ever made.   

Salem's Lot should be read alone on a dark and stormy night. 

In 1985 my wife and I moved into a rundown 1832 farmhouse situated alone, in the woods, at the end of a one mile long dirt road in rural Maine.   The house had no electricity, plumbing or running water.   At night, in bed, by lamp light my wife would read aloud a chapter from Salem’s Lot.  

It was scary as hell then, and I have read it since – and it is still scary. 

 the Ol’Buzzard


I recently ran across a strange little book at the local library.  When I say little, the book is actually only 5x7 inches, one hundred and twenty pages with large print.
Carlos Fuentes is a well-known Mexican writer, though I had never read any of his books. 

The story takes place in Mexico City and is a first person account of a strange and macabre story involving a lawyer and his family and a new arrival in the city that creates a cloud of suspicion and dread that threatens to tear his family apart.

It is a captivating read and leaves you wishing you could discuss the ending with someone.

An unsettling story that will remain on my mind for some time.

the Ol’Buzzard


A man arrives at the Pearly Gates and is met by St Peter.
"What Religion?" Peter ask.

The man says, "Methodist."

Peter checks his list and says, " Go to room twenty, but be very quiet when you pass room eight.?

Another man arrives and Peter asks, "Religion?"


"Go to room fifteen, but be very quiet when you pass room eight."

Another man arrives at the gate.  "Religion?" 

 " Episcopal."

St Peter says, " Go to room thirty, but be very quiet when you pass room eight."

The man says, "I can understand why there are different room for different religions, but what goes with room eights?"

Peter says, " The Jehovah's Witnesses are in room eight and they think they are the only ones here."

Thursday, December 25, 2014


As Christmas wanes a final tribute to the holy season.

We will  begin the season again next year the day after Halloween.  

Until then, a piggy wiggy woo to you too.
the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


We live in this time and place.   That alone is a miracle. We have no control on the future or the insanity of the world - we should live in each day, as it is a gift - to do less is to squander an opportunity.

the Ol'Buzzard



the Ol'Buzzard

Saturday, December 20, 2014


When I get hard down on the stupidity, ignorance and violence of the human race in general, I tend to forget or overlook the marvelous advances that small groups of humans are responsible for, in their effort to drag us through the muck and mire of our own destructive nature to a better future.

As individuals,  the best and brightest of our species have advanced the knowledge of science and technology for the sake of knowledge.  

 I still see no hope for mankind as greed and ignorance pushes the earth beyond its limits or regeneration; but I have to admit the journey of the human race has been spectacular.  

the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Biological engineers at the Influenza Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have been able to reverse engineer the H1N1 flu virus back to the strain of Spanish Flu that in 1918 killed forty million people.   They have also been able to create the H5N1 strain of Swine Flu virus that in 2009 killed half a million people.  They have carried this one step further and mutated the Swine Flu virus to a form that totally eludes all human immune systems.
These viruses are maintained in special freezer units in a ‘secure’ facility that consist of concrete box within a concrete box, complete with air locks and high end security.   The people working at this facility, and experimenting on live animals with these deadly viruses, have all been cleared by extensive FBI security checks.  The Ebola virus along with other unknown pathogens are also stored there.

About one half of the scientific community have serious reservations about developing and maintaining deadly viruses that could pose a threat of a worldwide pandemic.

The scientist at this facility, however, claim that the human race has probably already developed immunity to the Spanish Flu and Swine Flu over the decades, and so the maintenance of these viruses pose only a small danger.  

However, they avoid comment about the mutated virus developed that is said to totally elude the human immune system.

So as not to be one sided, here is the link from the University of Wisconsin explaining their program for general consumption. 

Again: What could possibly go wrong?

the Ol'Buzzard

Monday, December 15, 2014


An old cowboy is sitting at a bar and a young woman sits next to him.   The woman asks, “Are you a real cowboy?”

The old man replies, “I have spent my whole life working on a ranch punching cattle, mending fences and breaking horses.  I guess that makes me a real cowboy.

The young woman tells him, “I'm a lesbian.   The first thing I think of in the morning is women, when I take a shower I am thinking about women, when I watch TV I am always fantasizing about the women.  Women are on my mind all the time.
Sometime later a young man takes a seat next to the old cowboy. 
“Are you a real cowboy?” the young man asks.

The old man answers, “I always thought I was, but I just found out I’m a lesbian. 

Bad jokes - I love um

the Ol'Buzzard 

Sunday, December 14, 2014


George comes home unexpectedly and finds his preacher and his wife naked in bed together.   Before he can confront them the preacher jumps out of bed and says, “George, I am here doing spiritual work; so who are you going to believe me or your eyes?

the Ol'Buzzard

Saturday, December 13, 2014


In a recent post about exercise I referenced to a post by NAN and misquoted her.   I apologize.  Nan has an excellent site and her history post are especially interesting and informative. 

the most humble Ol'Buzzard


Friday, December 12, 2014


It’s the worst case scenario
Three inches of wet snow
The snow blower can’t move it

Temperature in the thirties
Too warm for the wood stove
We’ll end up burning fuel oil

Have to go shopping today
Hope the roads are passable
Need food for the kitties

The world is chaotic
Militarized police departments
Violence across the globe

The Space probe New Horizon
Wakes up after eight years
Three billion miles to Pluto

The curvature of light
Time a variable dimension
The existence of black holes

An expanding universe
A bubble universe
An infinite number

Breakfast is ready
Oatmeal, bananas, nuts and toast
I would prefer bacon and eggs

 the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, December 11, 2014


   We belonged to the gym at the University for a number of years and only sporadically used the facility. 

Recently, however, we have bought a recumbent exercise bike and it is placed prominently between our living room and our kitchen where we have to walk by it numerous times a day.  We have a calendar with our appointments we print and hang on our refrigerator and we put a sticker on the calendar each day we use the bike for at least ten minutes.   Last month we used it fifteen days.


The bike only cost $200 on e-bay   It is well built, comfortable and easy to move around.   

 I am posting this link for anyone that might be interested.   

the Ol'Buzzard


Students are required to pass a test to graduate
Teachers have to pass a test
Doctors have to pass a test
Lawyers have to pass a test
Pharmacist have to pass a test 
Truck drivers and bus drivers have to pass a test

But as I have always said: Any fool can run for public office - and often does.  

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


We have a three day storm system with winds coming in from the northeast.
I never mind when these storms bring in snow, even though we often end up with well over a foot within a few hours.   But, this system is starting as snow, changing to sleet, changing to rain, changing to sleet, changing to snow, changing… and it is supposed to continue into Friday, with day time temperatures at or above freezing (worst case scenario.)

This morning I got up, my wife had fed the new cats and had oatmeal cooking.

Baby Toula - age four months

Bella with the beautiful eyes - age four years

 I ate breakfast, then relaxed with a cup of tea before going out to fill the bird feeders and bring in two days of firewood before the storm arrives.    

Snow started about two pm.   We will likely lose electricity during this storm, as wet snow and sleet will stick to power lines, or at the very least bring down tree limbs on the lines.

We have LP gas lamps installed in the living room and kitchen, a kerosene lamp that we can move from room to room, also a battery lantern and flashlights. 

This is an earlier picture from Solstice 2010, but note the gas lamp in the upper left 

We can heat with wood and cook on the gas stove top (though the oven will not work without electricity.)  

As a bear once told me, “You’ll be alright.

Winter time is the time for homemade soups.

I do the majority of cooking at the house – because I like it.  For some reason my wife doesn't complain.  The thing I do not like is making salads: it always seems so boring and repetitious.

So, today was a soup day for lunch.  One of my favorite recipe books is Twelve Months of Monastery Soups

 (I also have the Twelve Months of Monastery Salads book but don’t use it often.) 


Today was just a simple cream of tomato soup:
I diced one medium onion; put a chunk of butter and enough olive oil in the bottom of the soup pan to sautéed  the onions until tender, then added a tablespoon of dried parsley, a teaspoon of thyme and a couple of teaspoons of dried basil – cooked for a couple of more minutes before adding a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (unseasoned.)   Let it simmer about ten minutes, added two teaspoons of sugar and puréed  it with the hand blender.   Once the mixture was uniform I added about twelve ounces of half and half cream (look at it and taste it until it seems right.)  

I keep a small container with a couple of ounces of olive oil and a crushed garlic clove soaking (I use it for cooking or as a dip for my bread instead of butter,) I slices a baguette and coated the inside with the garlic oil and browned it in a skillet.  

A nice tomato soup and garlic bread – it doesn't  get much better.  

Tonight for supper: a salad, grilled salmon fillets cooked on the George Forman  (if we still have electricity,) rice and canned green peas.
Tomorrow I will probably be snow blowing the driveway and digging out the front and back doors.  

Just a note; if you are considering buying a snow blower look for one with a round snow chute (the tube where the snow comes out.)  I have a Sears snow blower and it works fine except with wet snow.   The snow chute is rectangular and prone to clogging up.   My friend has one with a round chute and doesn't have this problem.
Need to feed the wood stove…
the Ol’Buzzard


Wednesday, December 3, 2014


So much for complaining about the government spying.  

Do you have a hot neighbor on the fiftieth floor  that leaves her curtains open at night; or do you want to track your significant other when they say they are going to see mom; do you want to watch a parade without actually attending; or perhaps you would like to make your living as a black mailer?   

If you have a thousand bucks to spend you too can be a spy in the sky.

The New DJI Phantom drone could be the answer to all your spy fantasies.   

It is fast, it flies high or low and with its new GPS system if it loses your your signal it will automatically turn around and head back to point of flight origin.  You can fly this sucker by GPS coordinates or visually.    

Next time you have sex you probably should pull down your shades.

I'm just saying.
the Ol'Buzzard

Monday, December 1, 2014



the Ol'Buzzard

Friday, November 28, 2014


The mind of man is a capricious concoction of voltaic cells that controls our lives. 

Harnessing that energy is the process of education and critical thinking – giving man the capability of astounding creations from science to art to agriculture to engineering.
In our smugness we tend to think that our brain, its size and functioning, somehow separates us and places us above the rest of the animal kingdom.

But how are we to know that the raven is not spending its days contemplating theoretical physics; or that the great whales are not the great philosophers of all living creatures? 

One of the problems with the human mind is that we can’t turn it off, ipso-facto I find myself lying in bed during the wee hours while my mind runs the gamut from logic to insanity, and all points in between.

So, I am wondering: Why 24 hours in a day?  Why sixty minutes in an hour and sixty seconds in a minute?   It makes no sense.

A ten hour day; divided into one hundred minutes; divided into one hundred seconds is so much more logical.   You could express any time with a whole number and decimal places: 09.37.15 for the ninth hour, thirty seventh minute, fifteenth second – very precise.  

I almost missed a commercial flight because the agent said it would leave at 12:05 on a Wednesday; and I was thinking five minutes after noon – when it was zero dark o-five that morning.

So there I was in bed: three-hundred-sixty-five days in a year – twelve months – fifty-two weeks of seven days, and leap year… what the fuck?

I try to turn it all off by focusing, concentrating, meditation on nothing; which is actually not turning it off but refocusing; but the damn id keeps interfering. 

I count my breaths: one, two, three, four… why not count my pulse?  Hell my fingers and toes are base ten… now if I could just roll my wife over and jump her bones then I’d be able to sleep; but that’s not going to happen.

One, two, three, four…

the Ol’Buzzard

Thursday, November 27, 2014


save a turkey - eat a chicken!


After reading Kulkuri’s comment about baked beans on an earlier post about slow cooker cooking, I decided to share my slow cooker bean recipe: should anyone be interested.  

I soak baby lima beans overnight.  Place them in the slow cooker next morning, cover them with two chopped onions, a ham steak cut into one inch cubes, a cup of diced celery, two minced garlic cloves, a can of diced tomatoes, one bay leaf, a teaspoon each of dried oregano, thyme and basil, a dash of crushed red peppers to taste and four cups of Chicken stock (again we use McKays.)
I set the cooker to high and cook about six to seven hours.
Baked beans, a glass of cold beer (Canadian) and crusty bread – you can’t find a better winter feed.


A five pound chicken (I prefer chicken to turkey) stuffed with two lemons quartered; add I cup of chicken broth, two garlic cloves, a bay leaf and sprinkle the bird with Herbs of Provence. Cook on high for six hours.

My wife will make mashed potatoes, savory dressing, green peas and cranberry sauce when we are ready to eat - a glass of  Beaujolais.

Life is good. 

The only way this could be any better would be to live in France and work in a vineyard like microdot.

the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


There is an organization called Clowns for Jesus.

Now that's scary as shit!

Something that nightmares are made of...

They all float down here...

the Ol'Buzzard

Friday, November 21, 2014


This is one of those cold days: remnants of snow on the ground, temps in the lower twenties, and a wind blowing 15 to 20 knots.  

This is a fresh bread and homemade soup day.

We have make homemade bread in a bread maker for at least thirty years.   We use the Breadman Ultimate which cost less than $100 on e-bay. 

Today I did a milk bread:  1 1/8 cup of milk, 4 cups of white flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of yeast. 

Just prior to the last rise cycle I took out the dough and remove the paddle (I don’t like the hole in the bottom of the loaf when the paddle is left in during baking.)   I briefly kneaded and replaced the dough back in the pan; then back into the bread machine for the last rise and baking.

About thirty minutes before the bread was done I put together a mushroom soup: I sliced about a half pound of button mushrooms, diced one medium onion.   In a stew pan I melted a large chunk of butter, then sautéd the onions and mushrooms with a tablespoon of dried parsley until the mushroom liquid was gone.  At this point I added a tablespoon of flour and stirred until it was well combined.  I stirred in two cups of beef broth (we use a product called McKay’s Instant Broth and Seasoning – vegan special, one teaspoon per cup of water – purchased at the local health food store.


 I brought the soup to a boil then add one cup of sour cream.   Using a hand blenders I pureed the mushrooms and blended in the sour cream.

A small spinach salad – a large bowl of soup and a slice of warm buttered bread, with a nice glass of Merlot on the side.   
I drink wine every day, therefore I can’t afford expensive bottles except for special meals.  I have found a quite good, cheap – vino de mesa – wine of the table. 

 Tisdale wines sell for four dollars a bottle at the local Hannaford supermarket.   If you are a wine drinker you might give these a try.

Soup, fresh bread, a salad and wine; it makes a day like this special.
the Ol’Buzzard

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Why is it that we spell knees 'KNEES' and don't spell the protuberance on your face 'KNOSE' ?

I'm just asking?

the Ol'Buzzard


I came across the author Angela Carter in an article written by Brian Greevy (click the link to read his article.)

I ordered the book The Bloody Chamber, a small paperback, through interlibrary loan at the local library. 

Angela Carter died in 1992.   She was a prolific British author and recipient of numerous awards.  Her stories are a cross between The Brothers Grim and The Twilight Zone.   Her spin offs of fairy tales are spiced with sexuality, bestiality and sadomasochism. 

They are not only a provocative read, but well written.

The first paragraph from The Courtship of Mr Lyon:

Outside her kitchen window, the hedgerow glistened as if the snow possessed a light of its own; when the sky darkened toward evening, an unearthly, reflected pallor remained behind upon the landscaper while still the soft flakes floated down.   This lovely girl, whose skin possesses the same, inner light so you would have thought she, too, was made all of snow, pauses in her chores in the mean kitchen to look out at the country road.   Nothing has passed that way all day; the road is white and unmarked as a spilled bolt of bridal satin.  
Father said he would be home before nightfall…

 And then The Tiger’s Bride begins:

My father lost me to The Beast at cards.

It is a matter of taste; but I like her style of writing, and her short stories end with more mystery than they answer: a jumping off point for imagination.  

The Bloody Chamber has ten short stories (a quick read before bedtime – but may keep you awake.)

I recommend this carrion for a midnight mind feast:
the Ol’BUzzard

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I spent a dozen years teaching and living in Native Alaskan villages; my wife is also Native American – she is a registered member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Massachusetts.

I admire the respect shown to Elders by all Native tribe members, both young and old.   Elders are held in a special venerated position, and during Potlatch and special ceremonies Elders always feel free to stand up and lecture the tribe or gathering – and everyone listens respectfully to their every word. 

During such time I have often found myself sitting through disjointed ramblings of circular and pointless stories expressing bias and even raciest views; and I admire the people who respect their elders enough to listen attentively.

As I have said before: age does not automatically confer wisdom; it often calcifies past prejudices and results in a rigid view of the world in past tense. 

The aged, however, do have an untapped resource of untold value.   As custodians of living history they have tales on a personal and local level of life and times past: perhaps this is the real history.  

After retiring from the military my wife and I attended college.   One of our class projects was the recording of living history of the western Maine area.   We located subjects between the age of seventy (old to me at that time) and ninety, and recorded their vivid remembrances of youth and early life.

A ninety two year old wood cutter recounted his life during the depression.  Wood cutting at that time was done with whip saws and axes.  He hired six men to harvest the timber, paying them one dollar a day and room and board.   The men lived in his barn.  His wife would prepare rolled oats and maple syrup, harvested from their own trees, for the breakfast meal.    The evening meal was always meat (deer bear or moose) and potatoes that he had grown during the summer.  Oxen were used to drag the timbers to a loading area; and then he would transported the timber to the local mills on a sled pulled by eight oxen. 

A seventy year old woman we recorded told of raising six children while her husband worked in a wood mill.   Along with local history she gave us a number of recipes, including her recipe for biscuits – which we later tried. 

I was raised by my grandmother who was born in 1892.  I am sorry to say that I never questioned her about life in the Mississippi Delta at the turn of the century.  

As a young boy in the 1950’s I would visit with an elderly neighbor in her late nineties.  She would tell me stories about her life in the Delta during the Civil War.   I was young so remember very little of her tales – it is a shame someone didn't record her knowledge for posterity.  

Now, I am in my seventies.   I was raised during a time before television.   Our telephone number was 126 and my great uncle’s number was 6.    If you didn't know a person’s number you could just tell the operator who you were calling and she would ring them.  

Mail was the standard way of communicating over a distance.   Stamps were three cents and postcards were a penny.  It took a week for a letter from my grandmother to reach her daughter in Kentucky and another week for an answer.

My grandmother and I lived on one side of a shotgun house.  They called them shotgun houses because a hallway ran down the center of the house, and you could shoot a shotgun through the front door and it would exit the back door.  Across the hall was an older couple that owned the house.  Most local houses, including ours, were built on brick pillars, because before the levees the Delta would flood every summer.  

 We had three rooms: two bedrooms and a kitchen and a small bath.  There was flowered linoleum on all the floors.  In each room a light was suspended from the ceiling on a cloth covered electrical cord.    A screen porch stretched across the front of the house and at night in the summer my grandmother and the old couple would sit on the porch to escape the heat – I would often fall asleep in the swing.

After the rent, my grandmother and I lived on twenty-five dollars a month.  A loaf of bread was fifteen cents and a quart of milk was a quarter.   I usually had grits for breakfast, sometimes bacon and eggs – the eggs came from my great uncles coop across the street. I qualified for reduced lunches at school.  During the summer my lunch was usually a mayonnaise sandwich – two pieces of Wonder bread with mayonnaise; sometimes a pineapple sandwich – two pieces of bread with mayonnaise and a ring of pineapple; or a tomato sandwich –two pieces of bread with mayonnaise and tomato; or a lettuce sandwich, you guessed it, two pieces of bread with mayonnaise and lettuce (I still love those sandwiches today.)  Supper was usually something simple: sometimes a piece of meat with rice and gravy; greens, tomatoes, beans and okra if they were in season; but almost always rice and gravy, biscuits and gravy or bread and gravy.   

One of my uncles owned an automobile dealership and sold Kaisers and Henry J’s; but he went broke and later moved to New Orleans.   He is the uncle that gave me my first gun when I was twelve years old: a 22 cal. bolt action rifle that I still own. 
My grandmother and I didn't have a car, but I had a J.C. Higgins, red and white, twenty-six inch bicycle that I road from second grade to ninth (until I was old enough that I was ashamed to be riding a bicycle to school.)  

Before moving to Mississippi at age eight, we had lived in Kentucky.  I remember the Second World War and star flags in peoples windows.  I remember ration books and tokens used for money.  

My memories of the history, politics or current events of my early years is crap – but I remember the things I experienced growing up in the forties and fifties; that is, of course, considered only nostalgia in the overview of history.

But, perhaps it is not the big things elders remember that is of consequence, but just the everyday life of a different time and place.

Sorry for such a long winded blog entry.
the Ol’Buzzard