Friday, June 14, 2019


In these hectic days of constant political turmoil, sometimes it is good just to listen to the music.

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


I remember my mother, when she was younger than I am now, saying that she hated to sleep because everybody she dreamed about was dead. 

I don't have that problem, because I have few fond memories of people in my past; but I am watching all the musical icons I listen to for most of my life, disappear one by one.

Dr John has been a staple in the music I appreciate, and now he too is gone. 

A true son of New Orleans and a blues icon that can never be replaced.

enlarge to fully appreciate

The Haitian slaves had their own gods but were not allowed to worship them, so they renamed them with the names of Christian Saints, so their masters would think they were practicing Christianity.  The old religion is very much alive around New Orleans, and Dr John celebrated it.  

I am sure there is going to be one hell of a funeral!
Laissez les bon temps rouler Dr John.

the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


My wife and I have been making our bread with bread machines for thirty-five years.  During that time, we have gone through four machines.   The Breadman Ultra we have now is ten years old.  Dough that is slightly wet tends to stick to the side of the bread pan and cause the machine to vibrate and move around on the counter during kneading.  I don’t know why I never thought of it before, but this morning I sprayed some olive oil cooking spray on a paper towel and wiped the inside of the pan before filling the ingredients.   It worked beautifully; the machine ran through the cycles smoothly. 

Note: I always remove the dough just before the last knead cycle, take out the paddle and place the dough back in the bread pan for the last knead, rise and bake cycle.

Friday, May 31, 2019


My wife and I are somewhat reclusive.   As such, our opinions on matters are viewed through our personal prism: our backgrounds, our experiences and our personal prejudices. 

But I must admit I was shocked, when I ran across an educated man – a medical doctor – that espouses a belief in intelligent design.

Of all people in the world you would think a medical doctor could see the glaring deficiency in believing an infallible architect deity would be responsible for the design of the female body. 

Females are the ultimate beauty.    Their features, their movements and their aura are intoxicating.    But after that the design falters.  

What kind of an incompetent deity could design the outer structure so perfectly, then screw up so badly in the infrastructure?   You would have to believe this magical designer started putting the female together, and then lost interest before the job was completed.

The problems begin in young womanhood: one week out of every month the body has to reboots: often beginning with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and ending with a bio-hazardous discharge resulting in abdominal pain, general discomfort and breast tenderness.  Women regularly suffer from vaginal infections, urinary track infections and uteri infections.  Twenty percent of all women will require a hysterectomy before age forty.  Then there is the physical distortion of pregnancy, the pain, the anxiety, and actual physical damage from giving birth.   As if that is not enough, there is menopause to look forward to: hot flashes, night sweats, abdominal pain…

If you bought an automobile that had that many problems, you would return it for a refund claiming the lemon law. 

Though I do not believe in an infallible creator, I do believe in magic; and women are the personification of magic.   There are magical secrets passed down through virgin, mother and crone that can beguile males of the species.   The resilience of women facing physical difficulties as they age, results in matriarchs that are the strength of the family unit.

I absolutely adore my wife.  To me she is the most beautiful creature that ever walked this earth; but I feel sorry for her for a physical design that often results in her pain and discomfort. When I go with her into doctor’s offices, the waiting rooms are full of women who would attest, that if their bodies are the result of intelligent design, then the standard for intelligence must be extremely low. 

the Ol'Buzzard

Friday, May 24, 2019


Many women are outraged by the Republican Party’s move to reverse Roe vs Wade.    Ire at the Republican Party is misdirected – the Party is just the avatar for a base that Republican politicians are anxious to keep united.   Republican politicians could care less about women’s rights and the abortion issue; as always, their main concern is keeping their plush jobs; and in this case, it means placating the Religious Right.

Let’s put this squarely where it resides.   The roots of anti-abortion reside in the churches.   To fundamentalist Christian and the Catholics hierarchy, the outlawing of abortion in a major step toward their goal of legislating a version of Christian Sharia Law.

For years, Fundamentalist have declared the United States a Christian Nation and have declared God’s laws above man’s laws.   With each step of outrage against homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion…, the Religious Right is trying to consolidate a move toward a theocratic Christian government.

In the fourth century the Catholic Church drove Europe into a thousand years of Dark Ages, where science philosophy and enlightenment were crushed by religious superstition and zealotry.   Now a vocal minority wishes to turn the clock back by systematically integrate religion into government.

If you are outraged by the attack on Roe vs Wade you need to boycott religion.   Call out religion for the bigotry it is, and its danger to our democracy.

If you attend church on Sundays, and are outraged against the reversal of Roe vs Wade, then you need to reassess your values – for they are conflicted. 

the Ol’Buzzard 

Saturday, May 18, 2019


I think it is important that people share experience with consumer products.   You get a lot of spin when you do a web search for products, and it is often difficult to make an informed purchase.

I have posted about my Total Gym and highly recommend it – provided you make a self-commitment to use it.   I have had mine for a number of years and use it almost every morning for fifteen minutes.   I honestly feel that my physical conditioning, here in my eighth decade, is due largely to the exercises I do, year- round, on my Total Gym.  The product is well built and models can be had for around two-hundred dollars.   If anyone is interested in the exact routine, I do on the TG, let me know and I will share.


 I do most of the cooking, my wife does most of the cleaning.   Cooking is a creative experience for me, and I like to eat.    I have three Cuisinart products.  A pressure cooker that I bought over thirty years ago.  It is heavy stainless steal and still serves me well.  I have had to replace the rubber gasket one time.  I do not think they make this model any more, and doubt if Cuisinart’s current models are as well built as this old one.


I had a Walmart thirty-dollar toaster for years and it worked OK.   It was a light weight, cheap, colored plastic model made in China.   I complained about the flimsy workmanship for years, but it toasted toast.   When it gave up the ghost, I broke down an purchased a Cuisinart, about a year ago.   It is supposed to be stainless steel, but it is very light weight.   The toast tends to come out dark in the center and light around the perimeter.   It is made in china and I have a feeling it probably has the same heating elements that the cheep Walmart brands have.   I am not really pleased with this toaster and will probably replace it with another Walmart toaster sometimes in the future. 

REMINESS:  My grandmother had the same toaster my entire childhood.  It was heavy steel; you could probably drop it from a second story building and not damage it.   Back then (1940’s and 50’s) they had appliance repair men.  If your radio, or stove, or lamp, or refrigerator, or toaster…  didn’t work you would get it repair.  I seem to remember we had new heating elements put in that toaster at some time.

Two years ago, I bought a Cuisinart three-in-one slow cooker.  I love it.   I can sauté onions, celery and garlic (the trinity) in the slow cooker; then brown my meat with the trinity; finally add any liquid and vegetables, all in the same unit.   However, there is one big negative: The aluminum, removable pot with the non-stick coating is pitted in the bottom.  I have never used anything other than wooden spoons in the unit and I clean it with a sponge and soapy water, yet it looks like someone stippled the bottom of the pot.   Tiny holes in the non-stick: I suppose we have eaten it.  I am going to order a new pot and stay with the unit as I do love its convenience – being able to cook all phases of a slow cooked meal without dirtying other pots and pans.

That's all for now.  The weather here in western Maine in mid-May is still cold and damp.  The high today will be in the forties and overcast.  We have had heavy rains at least two days a week all month - actually we had snow one day last week.  I hate to say I am looking forward to warmer weather, which also means bug season, but I have so many outdoor projects waiting for the weather to dry, I feel antsy to get them started.  

the Ol'Buzzard