Thursday, August 25, 2011


OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS I have been asking myself  'Why am I writing a blog?"   I have also wondered what I have accomplished by spending time, almost daily for the last twelve months, in the bloggisphere.

To answer the first question I am resurrecting my very first blog:  

Physicist speak of the beginning of creation as the Big Bang, a time when an indescribably dense point of nothingness explodes, throwing out matter which creates an expanding universe. I suppose we could describe the end of creation as the Big Suck. This would be a time when all matter returns in upon itself, forming a gigantic black hole and finally shrinks again to some minuscule point of nothingness.

The time of the Big Suck is really not far away. As a matter of fact, I have come to believe it is at the end of MY foreseeable future. You see, this is the way it works: It's like Schrodinger's cat. When I die, you people are gone - there is nothing left. If I can't see you, you don't exist. My death is the Big Suck. As my reality shrinks like a heavy star into a cognitive black hole from which nothing returns, so goes creation. You're snuffed. Time and space converge into nothing.

It isn't anything to get concerned about, because nothing is the natural state of things. String theory speaks of many dimensions so our little time space continuum is like a fart bubble in the ocean - insignificant and brief in cosmic time.

With this entire heavy nothingness in our foreseeable future you might wonder why I feel the need to sit down and write my take on this paltry existence that we call human life. The only explanation I can offer is because I have an orderly mind. I plan before I act; I weigh consequences and look at contingencies. I even make a list and keep a diary. Therefore it follows, as the night the day, that I feel the need to place my sev71enty-one years on this earth into some sort of order by cataloging my observations and experiences.

Franz Kafka said that the meaning of life is that it stops. Monty Python said that the meaning of life is - there is no meaning of life. Victor Emil Frank said the meaning of life is suffering. Abraham Maslow said it is experience. Then, if you really want to cloud the water, you throw religion into the mix. It's confusing.

My favorite explanation comes from Buddhism Plain and Simple, by Steve Hagen (thank you Steve.) Steve poses the question that perhaps we are intelligent creatures living in a meaningless world. The answer, of course, is yes... to the meaningless world.

However, I find it a real stretch to imagine any life-form that could twice elect George W. as the leader of the free world, as intelligent; and then there is the Tea Party.   If you have illusions of man as an intelligent creature just attend a Pentecostal church meeting in Kentucky or West Virginia where they pass around the poisonous snakes; or, check out the glazed looks on the faces of the congregation of any television evangelical program; tune into any political convention; go into the Bible belt and talk about the origins of mankind; or, watch young Arabs throwing rocks at Israeli soldier armed with automatic weapons. Suicide bombers, war and genocide - the list can go on and on. Can we link intelligence with our species? I think not.

Where am I going with this? Hell, I don't know. My intention is to look at all the aspects of human existence that came into being with my birth and will demise with my demise. I feel, because I see my own demise as imminent, I have the enlightened detachment described by the Buddha: the ability to view existence from an empty space, a place without prejudice, religion conviction, or political correctness. In other words: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...I'll call it a duck.

To answer the second question, this blog really hasn't accomplished anything for me other than a chance for me to actually publish something; though, I think the act of writing has probably been cathartic for me and having been read is a real bonus (and I thank those of you that check in on me for that.)   In the scheme of things,however, this blog has become an obligation and has tended to cut back on my reading of real books - an avocation I greatly value.    

So where does that leave me?   The question is still unanswered: IS THE HOOKEY POOKEY REALLY WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT?

You honestly don't ponder your mortality until the end is forseeable; and then you tend to take stock of who you are and where you have been.   For me, life has been a blast - I have crammed at least two lifetimes of adventure and accomplishment into my seventy-one years.   If it is true that your life flashes before your eyes at the moment of death, then mine will be a double feature.  

Don't get me wrong; for the moment I am still healthy (just old.)  I ride my motorcycle, make love to my young wife, eat what I want, drink beer and wine and whiskey, and enjoy the outdoors.  

BUT,  I live in the woods and I was sitting outside the other night at sundown and marveling at the sky above the dark spruce trees: the background ranged from light blue to dark purple with florescent clouds in shades from pink to orange; I listening to the sound of the first cries of night birds; and I deeply felt that it has been a wonderful privilege to have spent a brief existence on this beautiful planet.  

It will come to an end for me , as it will for you, and eventually for the universe.   And is there meaning for our existence?  I would have to say no - but we are fortunate to have been here.

My advise: don't get to hung up on all the annoyances created by the cretins of our race - sit outside and watch a sunset and realize that life is not about nationalism, politics or religion, but about a chance to live in and enjoy a brief moment in time.

Just put your right foot out
Put your right foot in 
Put your right foot out
And shake it all about
Do the Hookey Pookey 
And turn yourself around
That's what it's all about.

The Ol'Buzzard

I will occasionally post if there is something worth saying.
In the mean time, there is coffee when the whiskeys gone, but there is whiskey for tonight. - (Dave Mallet)

Friday, August 12, 2011


I received this from a friend and am passing it on.
the Ol'Buzzard


Yesterday I was at my local COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Jake, the Wonder Dog and was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.What did she think I had, an elephant? So since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way that it works is, to load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff a poodle's ass and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard. Costco won't let me shop there anymore. Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Shadow and my wife in Maine

For most of my life I owned dogs. German Shepherds were my dog of choice because as far as dog intelligence is concerned they seemed to be the most intuitive. Shepherds are loyal and protective, and being close to the wolf line they have the instinct of the pack (the family is their pack and they don’t like or trust outsiders.)

Shadow hauling water to our house in Maine

For a short while, between my Shepherds, I own an Irish Wolfhound. It had a bat shit tea-party intellect and he would bolt at any loud sound and run for miles; I would have to be chased down. It would walk through the house and knock things over and then go ballistics – it had absolutely no sense. The only saving grace was she liked whiskey and water: we would sit in front of our house and drink together and then stagger inside and take a nap.

I also owned a couple of Basset Hounds that I hunted. They were affectionate animals with a great nose.

I loved my dogs, bonded with them and enjoyed them but now I have a cat.

Dogs are simple creatures and have a simple philosophy of life:

Pet me, pet me, pet me, pet me…

Throw the stick, throw the stick, throw the stick…

I smell piss on the pole – I want to piss on the pole, I want to piss on the pole…

Another dog – I want to smell his ass, I want to smell his ass, I want to smell his ass…

Feed me, feed me, feed me…

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, throw the stick, throw the stick…

Dogs desire to be with you and desire to please you; they can be trained to perform certain functions – but they are not the brightest light bulb on the animal tree.

I got my first cat when I was forty-nine and living in Alaska. My wife and I were bush teachers and we had been transferred to an Indian village with no district housing, which meant we had a job but no place to live. I knew one of the old Natives in the village and he offered to help. He owned an old abandon one room (16x16’) cabin that he had lived in before the government came in and built commercial log homes for all the Natives. The cabin was a derelict and had no windows and no door; the roof was leaking and was in terrible shape; of course, no electricity, water or sewerage.

 He told me that my wife and I could live in the cabin if I would fix it up. The cabin was full of spiders and small animals including a community of voles.

I had never owned a cat and didn’t particularly care for them; but my wife and I decided that to control the animal infestation while we were teaching at school we needed a cat.

From a cat rescue group in Fairbanks we found a large Maine Coon Cat. He was about two years old and had a tattoo in his ear, but it was smudged and they had not been able to connect with the owner. It was thought that he might have escaped from a motor home passing through Fairbanks.

It took a few months to bond with Hobby but 20 pounds of Maine Coon Cat immediately took care of our small animal problem. After about six months he accepted that we were his people and that he would have to put up with us.

At the end of the year in the cabin we left Alaska for the lower forty-eight and Hobby left with us.

People with a control problem can’t own cats. If you can accept that a cat is its own person then you can enjoy a unique equality of friendship. Just because cats refuse to be trained, some people resent them and believe them less intelligent than dogs. Actually the opposite is true.

Hobby accepted my wife but bonded with me. He wanted to be with me most of the time. He was curious: I would open my tool box and he would immediately sort through it and check out everything. If I was up on the ladder painting or hanging sheet rock he would be up on the ladder with me. If I would try to read a book or the paper he would come up and lay on top whatever I was reading - if I was on the computer he would be up trying to walk on the keyboard. He played a little alpha male game with me: he would saunter through the room very nonchalant then nip at my ankle and take off running. Highly intelligent – he could communicate what he wanted and what he liked. He was a good friend, but always his own person. I owned a number of dogs, but Hobby was my friend. He died in 2002, after ten years with us, and I still miss him.

Dogs are slaves to their owners, but cats are independent; as a result, many dog owners feel resentment toward cats. That’s fine, we all have our druthers.

I don’t dislike dogs, but I feel about them the same way I feel about kids: if you want them fine, but don’t inflict them on me. Just because you tie a bandana around pooches neck doesn’t make me want to pet him; I don’t appreciate him pissing on the wheels of my truck, I don’t want to walk in his crap, I don’t want to have to put up with his barking and I damn well better not get bitten. If I wanted to clean up crap in my yard I would go out and buy a dog. Keep your dog at home and the same goes for your cat. People who let their animals wander are thoughtless and egocentric asses.

We now have a fourteen year old Rag Doll cat that has been my wife’s shadow since we brought her home at twelve weeks old. She has the same unique bond with my wife that I had with Hobby.

 I dread the time when we will loose her, but at my age I look at death as fact of life – the final tribute that we owe to nature.

I remember my dogs fondly, but I feel privileged to have had a cat for a friend.