Thursday, October 31, 2013


I love your pics
I look forward to Monday’s
And Friday’s next.

You live in West, Texas
You do your best
To bring Pagan values
To the people out west

Your heart is as big
As the Texas sky
And you love the word Fuck
And you’ll spit in the eye

Of people that are bigots
But I have heard you cry
For all of the old folks …

Fuck this Granny:  It is a crappy poem:  the point I am trying to make is that you have cared for the Ol’Darlings at the West Haven Rest Home for years – It burned down this year and now you are trying to reconnect with the residents by sending each a Christmas present.  

If anyone out in blogland can help: I guarantee it is a good cause

the Ol’Buzzard


I Love Halloween!

First of all, because it is a celebration of all things macabre; and I love books and movies on vampires, werewolves, witches and things that go bump in the night: something evil this way comes.

Also, because it drives fundamentalist Christians crazy:
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20:27

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The first statement I must make is that my earliest life was influenced by the Old South southern culture.   Anyone not a part of that bygone culture will not understand the Faulkneresk (William Faulkner: A Rose for Emily) mind set of southern men and women that hid family secrets and lived lives of illusion. 

To begin at the beginning my grandmother was born.   Her parents lived in a small Mississippi Delta town.  She was born in 1892; and it is my understanding that her father owned and operated an undertaker and livery service.   He had been a teenage scout during the Civil War and guided Confederate soldiers through the Delta around Union lines.  

My grandmother was married at age fourteen to a man in his early twenties.  Her husband was from Kentucky but was the station master for the Illinois Central Railroad in a nearby Delta town.  I can remember my grandmother telling me how handsome he was riding his horse when he came to court her. 

Within a very few years my grandmother had six children: four girls and two boys.   My mother was the youngest.  

My grandfather was strict, but of all his children my mother was his favorite, and the hardest to control.   From the stories I have heard, my mother reminds me of the young girl Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.   At eleven she got into her father’s whiskey and took his Lincoln automobile and drove through the cotton fields. She became pregnant as a young teen and, as families did in that day, she was sent away to live with her aunt and uncle in a different town until the baby was born.   About that same time the aunt and uncle ‘adopted a baby.’    I suspicion that their child is my half-sister.  

True to the southern Mississippi mystique, the story does not end there.   My mother’s older sister was engaged to marry a man from Vicksburg.   While her sister was working at a defense plant in Memphis my mother secretly accompanied her sister’s fiancĂ© on a business trip to Savannah, Georgia.   There she became pregnant with me.   Needless to say, this broke up the engagement of her sister.  

So to pick up in the middle: I was born.  My mother abandoned me in the hospital, but my aunt came down from Memphis and retrieved me.  I was passed around for a very short time and ended up with my grandmother, whose husband had just left her for a younger woman.   My grandmother did not like my birth name so she changed it – she also did not like my birth date so she changed that also.

We soon moved to my grandfather’s home town in Kentucky where we lived for eight years: My grandmother possibly thought her husband might return to her - but he never did. 

The story does not end here.   At the age of eight, my grandmother moved me back to her home in the Delta of Mississippi.    Her children were all grown and so she received no alimony, and this was before welfare so we were indigent and lived off the generosity of her oldest daughter who had married well.  My grandmother was well respected in the community (ie. A Rose for Emily) but we had nothing except her pride. 

I grew up believing my grandmother was my mother and that my actual mother and aunts and uncles were my brother and sisters.  It was not until I joined the Navy at age nineteen that I discovered my name was not my name; my birth date was not my birth date; and my sister was my mother and ….   I don’t believe even Faulkner could have put this story together.  

I have absolutely no antipathy toward my mother.  She was a woman that could not be forced into a mold of conformity.   After I was born she decided to enlist in the Navy; but women who had had children were not eligible.   My grandmother’s brother-in-law was governor of the State of Mississippi and my mother imposed on him to use his political connections to bypass the unmarried/childless requirement.  Strings were pulled and she enlisted.   She was in the very first group of Navy Waves to be assigned in a war zone.  She was a hospital corpsman aboard a hospital ship in the Pacific during the Second World War.   One of the men she nursed was Claire Chennault, commander of the Flying Tigers.  They corresponded for a while.   Later she married an architect in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  He had been stationed in Pearl Harbor, at the same time she was assigned; though they had never met.   

Fast forward: I left the South when I was eighteen and did not return for forty years.   I spent twenty-two years in the Navy where I was a drinker, a fighter, a nonconformist and a womanizer – not a very nice person.   The military rank and social structure was abhorrent to me; but I stayed in the Navy because I found I could control my assignments.   When I retired I married a wonderful young woman: we attended college together and then move to Alaska where we taught school in remote Indian and Eskimo villages.  

After leaving Alaska we moved to the small town in Kentucky that I remembered from my childhood (no way would I have ever gone back to Mississippi.)   I really could not say why I felt the need to return to a place in the south, other that I identified it with my roots.   Perhaps this poem written in Kentucky will explain:


Kinsmen from the distant past
Eternal specters faintly moving
Never seen but somehow speaking
Their voices just beyond my reason

Unknown forces drew me back
Can destiny be preordained?
Keeping some appointed meeting
Generations fade but never leaving.

We had saved a little money and were able to pay down on a house.   We owned five acres that was surrounded by two hundred acres of farm land.   No neighbor was visible from our house.  The place had been built in 1864 and was structurally sound and in immaculate shape.   It had been owned by an undertaker and his wife who used it as a party house and retreat.  The rooms were eighteen-by-eighteen with eleven foot ceilings and two huge fieldstone fireplaces.  They had decorated the place in French-whorehouse chic with wall to wall mauve carpets and chandeliers – not exactly our taste but the location was fantastic and the rooms were great.    

Now to the Rainbow vacuum cleaner.   We had a little bit of money left over and because of the carpets decided we should by a quality vacuum cleaner.   We settled on a Rainbow water vac.   The price was almost a thousand dollars back then (1993.)   We felt guilty spending that much on a vacuum cleaner; but the unit was real quality, with stainless steel wands and hard rubber tools.  

That was twenty years ago.  Now we live in a small cabin in Maine and this morning we vacuumed the living room with that same Rainbow vacuum cleaner.  

There is something to be said about quality.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

the Ol’Buzzard

Monday, October 28, 2013


What is there about the early morning hours before dawn when the earth is still and people sleep; a time when the past haunts you like a badly told story; and you wish you could change the channel because you don’t like what you see; you roll over, close your eyes and try to drift off; but the veil between parallel universes is thin and views of past, present and future keep merging with your mind and keeping you awake?  

This is a time of centricity: the ego is aside and you see your real self; a time when there is only you; and you are not good company: I could have done; I should have done; who am I, where am I and what is left - are the questions that haunt you in the pre-dawn before the light erases your memory and you move automatically through the feckless day.  

 Physicists accept the Chaos Theory: a butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings and… - change one thread in the tapestry of life - you realize that any one decision made differently along the history that is you and you would be a totally different person. 


Friday, October 25, 2013


I have blogged before about my resentment of the term ‘atheist.’      

Why do I need a title to denote what I do not believe in?  

I do not believe in vampires; I do not believe in werewolves; I do not believe in the Easter bunny, I do not believe in Santa Clause; I do not believe in Bugs Bunny and rabbits that talk; I do not believe in fairies; I do not believe in angels; I do not believe in devils;  I do not believe in demons;  and I don’t believe in the Christian fairy tale.   So why, from this short list of the many things I do not believe in must I carry a title to denote only one of my many disbeliefs?

I also believe that the word ‘atheist’ somehow legitimizes the Christian religion.   It presupposes that there is a god and that Christ was a living breathing man who pissed and shit and woke up many days with a hard on - and was a god living on earth. 

If you don’t believe in global warming and evolution you are a ‘science denier’ – you are guilty of ignorance of factual data and as such can be titled.   But, the god and Christ fiction has no basis in face – it requires blind faith of its followers.   You don’t need a title not to buy into to someone else’s fantasy.  

Fundamentalist religions, whether they are Muslim or Christian, are dangerous precepts.   They have fanatical followers that are so convinced of their own rightness and righteousness that they are able to justify any atrocity in the name of their god.  Evangelicals are only one step away from the Taliban –only our laws restrict them.

“Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told”
From: Napalm and Sillyputty by George Carlin.

The way I see it, there is only one drawback in denying religions:  there is no one to call to during orgasm.

the Ol’Buzzard

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Fall is on the back side in the western mountains of Maine.   Tonight, for the first time, temps are supposed to drop below freezing.   Our day time temps are in the low fifties (not bad for this time of year.)   There is a feeling that specter of winter is hiding around the corner, but she is unable to disguise her chilly breath.   

 Most of the bright reds and oranges are gone and now the vista is earth tones of yellow, copper and brown.   The copper beaches in my back yard are in their height of color and many of the leaves will survive until mid winter.  

I expect within the next week we will see snow capping the larger mountains. 

Like the squirrels and chipmunks I am scurrying around trying to finish projects that should have been done during the summer.  

fat face stuffing his cheeks with sunflower seeds

 I have changed the oil and adjusted the belts in the snow blower, put away the lawn mowers, winterized the motorcycle; but still have to change the lights in the crawl space under the house, re-insulate my water pipes and check out the well house.     

Today I called the oil company to fill my tank with kerosene.  I have a Monitor as the primary source of heat (besides the wood stove.)   

Our girl - 19 years old - Monitor in background.

This is a major output, along with property taxes, that I face each year at this time.   I use approximately one hundred and twenty-five gallons of fuel and three cord of wood each year. 

My bird feeders are now supporting mainly chickadees.   Most of the other birds have left for parts unknown.  The chickadees fly in and take one sunflower seed, fly away and eat it and then fly back in for one more seed.   They burn so much energy just to feed during the winter that they depend almost totally on the feeders.  

I spend so much money on sunflower seeds I feel I should be able to claim the birds on my income tax return. 

I actually look forward to the first big snowfall.   The leaves will be gone on the trees and black spruce will be a stark contrast to the skeletal white world.   Grey snowy days – the wood stove pumping – a bottle of wine – books to read – my wife for company: it doesn't get any better.  

the Ol’Buzzard

Saturday, October 19, 2013



It was awfully easy to get worked up during the craziness that we experienced due to the Republicans shenanigans that happened over the past three weeks.  Everyone’s blogs reflected the exasperation felt by all reasonable people.  

You could almost see the combined blood pressures rising as an increase of tension escalated as each day progressed.   

Now it is over.   Take a breath.  Relax.  Think about kittens.

Because unfortunately, we are scheduled to do it again.  

 the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Enlarge the screen - sit back and relax

the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I am not left handed, but my wife is.  There is a distinct difference in the way we perceive things, the way we manipulate objects and even the way we interact with the world around us. 

The world is right handed, and I often feel sorry that my wife has to move through a society that is unsympathetic and alien to her natural inclinations. 

I could make a list; but it is better expressed by Salman Rushdie in Luka and the Fire of Life.

Door knobs turn the wrong way.   Screws insist on being turned clockwise, guitars were strung upside down, and the scripts in which most languages were written ran awkwardly from left to right…  Potter wheels wheeled perversely, dervishes would have whirled better if they whirled in the opposite direction, and how much finer and more sensible the whole world would be, Luka thought, if the sun rose in the west and set in the east.

Seeing things in reverse to accepted norms is a special gift that results in innovation.   Some of our most brilliant people, and I include my wife, were and are left handed.

the Ol’Buzzard


I am never without a book to read.  I am an eclectic reader.  From cozy Ms Marple mysteries to the Icelandic legends of Sigurd and Gudrun; from the Cat Who mysteries to The Elegant Universe; The Three Pillars of Zen to manuals for Dummies.  

The new book I have picked up is a cozy read – light – a quick read – a pleasant read for a rainy day.  

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, is the story of an eleven year old female Chemistry prodigy who is obsessed with poisons and prisoners.   The stories take place in the 1950’s in rural England.  Flavia de Luce has the keen perceptions of Sherlock Holmes; and being eleven years old she can move through the adult world practically unnoticed.   She comes from a totally dysfunctional home with an eccentric father and two older sisters that attempt to make her life a misery.  Brilliant beyond her age, Flavia is able to solve mysteries that the local constabulary find baffling. 

A mixture of Tom Sawyer and Nancy Drew with a splash of Ms Marple and Sherlock Holmes; Flavia becomes a lovable, rascally heroine that will make you want to read the rest of the series. 

If you are looking from a respite from the government foolishness you could do worse that spend an afternoon with Flavia de Luce.

the Ol’Buzzard  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It is probably my age.
Or perhaps it is the month of October: a month of ghost and goblins and ghouls – Oh my! 
But, the debt ceiling fight and the government shutdown seems totally out of place at this time of the year: a time of harvest – a time of food and friends and fairs and celebration from a year of toil.  

I have said before that I can’t seem to get goaded into depression about what seems now to be business as usual in Washington.   

People are posting dooms day scenarios on what Rachel Maddow calls the internet machine.  

But in reality: all of this will end in just one way.   We will grow old and infirmed or diseased or suffer an accident – and then we all die.  We will get put in the ground, or cremated and have our ashes in an urn – or some not so lovable relative will flush us down the toilet.   Whatever the outcome; when this happens, we won’t care about the debt ceiling or governments or political parties. 

And then two or three generations in the future – when we are long forgotten – people will still be exasperated with their politicians; liberals will be disgusted with the way the rich treat the poor; and people with hearts and brains will be protesting the next war. 

Things move on but stay the same.    You can’t walk in the same river twice, but the river is still there.  This slipstream of time that man has created – and mankind him and her self – are relevant only in the small self-centered ego of our species.

We change the things we can and accept the things we can’t change. 

We are approaching the season of All Hallows Eve when the dead can walk - in our minds.  We should use this season to put things in perspective.  

Celebrate this season.
A pox on the Congress.

the Ol’Buzzard

Sunday, October 13, 2013


The day is overcast and grey, the leaves have fallen off the trees and the temperature is in the fifties.    This is the kind of day I love.   I could be perfectly happy living in a black and white Edward Gorey world.  

Sherlock Holmes stories have been a passion of mine since early teens.   To me the Jeremy Brett portrayal is the epitome of my vision of Sherlock Holmes.

However, when I read Holmes I always picture the stories in black and white. 

It is the same when reading Dracula.   If you haven’t read Dracula you should read it.  

However the best, in my opinion, vampire book ever written (and the worst vampire movie ever made) was Stephen Kings Salem’s Lot

I first read Salem’s Lot when I was in the Navy.   Salem's Lot supposedly took place in the vicinity of Maine where I was living.   I had been on a night flight and had been reading the Lot on board the aircraft.   I got home about one-thirty in the morning, the house was quiet and empty; I poured a glass of whiskey, settled in my favorite chair and picked back up the book.   I was just at the point where a young man was dead in an upstairs bedroom and the old man that owned the house was hearing noises from that room…fearfully he started up the steps…


The toile seat in the bathroom slammed down.   That noise, at that time of night, while reading Salem’s Lot, scared the hell out of me.   I threw the book down and went to bed. 

My wife and I read the book together after we had moved into an old decrepit 1832 farmhouse located in the woods one mile off a main road.   The house had no electricity and no plumbing – it had been vacant for twenty years.   We read ‘The Lot’ aloud each night, in bed, by lamp light; while the wind blew outside and the old house creaked. 

Salem’s Lot holds a special place in our memories.

I have been a horror movie fan since early childhood.  My grandmother and I moved to a small Mississippi Delta town when I was eight.   The movie house was three blocks from our house and a movie ticket cost ten cents.   I always went to the horror movies even though they scared me.   Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, The She Wolf of London: I would often hide my face during the scary parts. 

 But the real scare was the trip home.   There were no street lights and I had to cross the bridge spanning Deer Creek.   I would walk nonchalant as far as the lights in front of the movie house illuminated – and then I ran – it seemed my feet would never touch the ground – through the town with its dark store fronts, across the bridge, and a final sprint to my house and up the steps.   

 I remember those movies, and those nights as black and white. 

the Ol’Buzzard

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I am a veteran.  And Veterans of all wars are my brothers and sisters.   But let’s not get distracted here.   The WW-II memorial was closed – and that is regrettable; but in the totality of things this is a non-starter.

The Republicans have refused to fund the Veterans Administration at a rate to cover the increases due to vets returning from two simultaneous wars. 

Services have been cut back over the past year; and now due to the government shutdown VA staff is being furloughed starting today.    The local regional office in Rumford, Maine that handles my medical needs is closed, along with counseling services, VA hotlines, VA registration offices and more.    For all practical purposed the VA is in stand-down.  

So let’s stop bemoaning the parks and monuments closings that are inconvenience peoples vacation plans.

The whole country is taking a hit, and a photo-op of Michelle Bachman and the rest of the Mickey Mouse Club escorting WW-II vets past the barriers at the memorial was a disservice to all veterans. 

the Ol’Buzzard

Saturday, October 5, 2013


From pagan time to present All Hallows Eve has been the time that ghost can walk upon the earth.  

Do you believe in ghost?  It seems to me that if you believe in the Christian God and angels and resurrection you must also believe in ghost. 

New England is full of ghost stories and first hand accounts.   A friend of mine who was working as a painter in an old Maine house swears he saw a ghost dressed in a Civil War uniform.   An older couple my wife and I know swear that while staying in a noted haunted bed and breakfast they saw a woman in white walk through their room one night.  

Even down south the stories are ripe.   In the Vicksburg (Mississippi) Battle Ground Park there are people who swear they have seen a southern officer mounted on a horse galloping through the park late in the evening.

I won’t even dignify a remark about the ghost hunter reality shows on television.

The one point that all these sightings have in common is that the ghost were wearing clothes. 


You are not born with clothes on and it only stands to reason that if you could appear after death you would be necked.  

Do you take your clothes with you when you die, or do ghost have a wardrobe to choose from after death and before their haunting presence?   

No one seems to question that the Battle Field ghost is riding a ghost horse, on a ghost saddle, wearing a ghost uniform and carrying a ghost sword.   Makes you wonder if he has ghost underwear on beneath his uniform and ghost socks inside his boots.

OK, a horse and a man: they can die.   But clothing – how can clothing return?   Can you be haunted by an empty suite of clothes or a ghostly bra and panties?    

I am just asking?
the Ol’Buzzard 

Friday, October 4, 2013


This is the month that I have always loved – better than Christmas.   This is the witching month – the month that the spirits of the dead occupy a parallel universe – a sheer membrane away - from the living. 

All around us the world is dying: leaves are falling from the trees and the grass is turning brown; and the chill in the air portends snow which can turn our visual world into a skeletal realm of black and white.

You can’t explain it, but you can feel it in your soul, at night, when the moon is shining…that something wicked this way comes.  

I do not believe in ghost, goblins, angles, devils; or gods for that matter.   My mind is too logical – but – there is something witching in the month of October.

the Ol'Buzzard