Saturday, July 30, 2016


I don't often write about my personal feelings; but today I actually feel bad - guilty.   

A few days ago a bat came down our chimney and ended up in the wood stove.   The cats were delighted with Bat TV.  

The last time this happened I put on a heavy pair of gloves, carefully opened the door to the wood stove, and the bat came charging out.   My wife was terrified, the cat went into a hunting mode and I was finally able to grab the bat when it lit in the corner near the ceiling; so I took it outside and let it loose.

This time my wife was decisive: leave it alone.   She is possibly right, as bats along with skunks are the major carriers of rabies here in Maine.   

So the bat lasted three days.   It's dead and I feel guilty.  I do eat meat, but I don't like personally killing an animal (though I was an aggressive hunter for most of my life.)  My agreement to leave the bat in the stove to die was cruel in my view - and I don't feel good about it.  

But, the cats did enjoy it.  They can't figure out why the show is over. 

the Ol'Buzzard


The Democratic convention is over and except for outrageous things that Trump might say over the next three months, I am not interested; especially in the day to day, hour to hour pole numbers of the opinionated masses of people who believe the earth is six thousand years old, don’t believe in science, and have not a clue what they are opinionated about.

At my age I don’t want time to pass any faster, but I will be glad when the election is held and behind us.   This has gone on too long and I am saturated.

I do have a thought on Bernie Sanders.   I could have supported Sanders; but I thought he turned out to be a petulant old man – old man yells at clouds – at the end of the Democratic convention. 

The choice is either Trump or Hillary, and I thought his endorsement of Hillary was lukewarm.   He could have done a hell of a lot more to quell the dissenters at the beginning and during the convention.   To me, he actually seemed pleased that a hardcore following of his candidacy was vocal and disruptive.

Every time the camera went to him he looked like he had his ‘It should have been me’ face on. 

What a disappointment he turned out to be – at least for me.

the Ol’Buzzard     

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


To hell with the Presidential election: support legalizing pot in Maine in November.   That way if Hillary doesn't get elected we can spend the next four years stoned.  

the Ol'Buzzard


After watching prerecorded programs to avoid the Democratic Convention, quite late last night my wife switched to MSNBC in time to catch Michelle Obama’s speech and Bernie’s closing.   After the closing, some of the Bernie supporters were interviewed, and there was a theme in common: they were young and they were idealist. 

It didn’t surprise me that Bernie’s young people all said they couldn’t vote for Hillary.  

We have all been there.   The world seemed so black and white and answers seemed so obvious when we were young adult.   

At that age the world is about you - it's for you.  You are in awe of how misguided older adults behave and how obtuse your parents are – and you are not going to be like them now that you’re are grown.

Young people haven’t yet realized that the world is not black and white but shades of grey.  They haven’t been knocked back by adult responsibilities. 

It is only after you find out that the thrill of relationships is short lived, that babies cry through the night, that baby shit is stinky mustard yellow, that money is required for housing, food, car payments, insurance, medical bills, clothing, and that that money doesn’t come from mom and dad - that you have to earn it.   It is only after you have been knocked back a few times that you have made your bones as an adult.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not decrying young adults.   The idealism of young has brought about great changes in society.  The generation of the sixties with drug, sex and rock and roll brought about positive social change, as did the young people that demonstrated and bled during the integration of the south.   If it weren’t for the idealism of youth, which makes them easily manipulated, there would be no cannon fodder for the military. 

So Bernie’s young people cried in the audience and they can’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary.   They don’t understand yet that the world does not rotate just for them, that what they want does not drive the universe.  They can't see past their own egotism that a no vote for Hilary is an own-goal for Donald Trump.   

That you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.  


Not bad for seventy year old rock band musicians.

the Ol'Buzzard


I have to admit, I didn't watch the Republican National Convention. It is my understanding that from the beginning to the end Republicans pirated the songs that opened, closed and highlighted their proceedings.    Some song writers and performers have complained,   

Here is a clip from John Oliver's This Week Tonight on HBO.

the Ol'Buzzard

Sunday, July 24, 2016


I don't post often about current politics because I think there is a chaos factor that drives it.   But, did anyone notice the hug the Donald gave Ivanka at the convention.   He held her by the solders then let his hands slip down to her hips.  I'm am not saying he wasn't expressing fatherly love and honestly cares for her, but his way of dealing with women is kind of creepy when it caries over to his daughter. 

The news mentioned that Trump seemed to be holding his wife at a distance to keep her from hugging him - which would have taken the focus away from Himself.

the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, July 21, 2016


There comes a point in aging where you realize you have more past memories than future.  You accept your aging and your limitations, and if you are fortunate enough you may have real adventures to relive.   

Yesterday I wrote a post on blueberry.    I included some pics of my wife and our time at one of the Native villages in Alaska.   I mentioned that after the elementary kids picked blueberries and cranberries they returned to the classroom and made Eskimo Ice Cream.

The people of the far north brave winter conditions with subzero temperatures in the range of 40 to 50 degrees below zero.  At these extreme temperatures fat in a diet is critical.  Because caribou, that migrate through these northern regions, is lean meat, these northern Natives have for generations depended on seal, and whale to supply their fat needs.
Whale fat, or blubber, is considered a staple by these coastal Natives and it is often eaten fresh, frozen, boiled or fermented (an Eskimo delicacy called Muktuk.)    It was these northern people that originated Eskimo Ice Cream.

Oil and lard from the whale fat was hand whipped into a frothy consistency and berries added – later, with the incursion of ‘whiteman,’ sugar was added to the mix.

 (Note: whiteman – pronounced as one word, and the equivalent gussak are used by the Eskimo as a derogatory term for Caucasians.)

The last village my wife and I worked in was in southwestern Alaska on the Kuskokwim River.   These were Yup'ik people.   Once coastal, these people, had moved inland along the river to be near Russian trading post.   Here moose, caribou, musk ox and bear were plentiful and there were massive summer salmon runs to supplied ample protein for humans and dogs.  

Over the generation these river Yup'ik lost their dependency on whale and seal fat, but still retained their cultural connection to that food.    Now, here in the inland, whale fat has been replaced by Crisco and Wesson Oil in the making of Eskimo Ice cream.

Crisco, Wesson oil and shredded fish are mixed together - the fish to supply the missing taste of the ocean. 

Sugar is added and the mixture is vigorously whipped by hand.

Next come the berries: blueberries and cranberries.

The final product is Eskimo Ice Cream.

Probably not heart healthy; but it actually taste good. 

Just the trail of another memory
the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Robert Frost is my favorite poet.  I like him because he tells a tale.  His poetry is not surgical metered philosophizing on love and the meaning of life, but a story of people and place.

This time of year it is Blue Berry Season in Maine and I am always prone to pull out Robert Frost and reread his Blueberries


“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson's pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”

“I don't know what part of the pasture you mean.”

“You know where they cut off the woods - let me see -
It was two years ago - or no! - can it be
No longer than that? - and the following fall
The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall.”

“Why, there hasn't been time
 for the bushes to grow.
That's always the way with the blueberries, though:
There may not have been the ghost of a sign
Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine,
But get the pine out of the way, you may burn
The pasture all over until not a fern
Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick,
And presto, they're up all around you as thick
And hard to explain as a conjuror's trick.”

“It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit.
I taste in them sometimes
 the flavour of soot.
And after all really they're ebony skinned:
The blue's but a mist from the breath
 of the wind,
A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand,
And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned.”

“Does Mortenson know what he has, do you think?”

“He may and not care and so leave the chewink
To gather them for him - you know what he is.
He won't make the fact that they're rightfully his
An excuse for keeping us other folk out.”

“I wonder you didn't see Loren about.”

“The best of it was that I did. Do you know,
I was just getting through what the field had to show
And over the wall and into the road,
When who should come by, with a democrat - load
Of all the young chattering Lorens alive,
But Loren, the fatherly, out for a drive.”

“He saw you, then? What did he do? Did he frown?”

“He just kept nodding his head up and down.
You know how politely he always goes by.
But he thought a big thought - I could tell by his eye -
Which being expressed, might be this in effect:
‘I have left those there berries, I shrewdly suspect,
To ripen too long. I am greatly to blame.'”

“He's a thriftier person than some I could name.”

“He seems to be thrifty; and hasn't he need,
With the mouths of all those young Lorens to feed?
He has brought them all up on wild berries, they say,
Like birds. They store a great many away.
They eat them the year round, and those they don't eat
They sell in the store and buy shoes for their feet.”

“Who cares what they say? It's a nice way to live,
Just taking what Nature is willing to give,
Not forcing her hand with harrow and plow.”

“I wish you had seen his perpetual bow -
And the air of the youngsters! Not one of them turned,
And they looked so solemn-absurdly concerned.”

“I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
Of where all the berries and other things grow,
Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop.
I met them one day and each had a flower
Stuck into his berries as fresh
 as a shower;
Some strange kind-they told me it hadn't a name.”

“I've told you how once not long after we came,
I almost provoked poor
 Loren to mirth
By going to him of all people
 on earth
To ask if he knew any fruit to be had
For the picking. The rascal, he said he'd be glad
To tell if he knew. But the year had been bad.
There had been some berries - but those were all gone.
He didn't say where they had been. He went on:
‘I'm sure - I'm sure' - as polite as could be.
He spoke to his wife
 in the door, ‘Let me see,
Mame, we don't know any good berrying place?'
It was all he could do to keep a straight face.

“If he thinks all the fruit that grows wild is for him,
He'll find he's mistaken. See here, for a whim,
We'll pick in the Mortensons' pasture this year.
We'll go in the morning, that is, if it's clear,
And the sun shines out warm: the vines must be wet.
It's so long since I picked I almost forget
How we used to pick berries: we took one look round,
Then sank out of sight like trolls underground,
And saw nothing more of each other, or heard,
Unless when you said I was keeping a bird
Away from its nest, and I said it was you.
‘Well, one of us is.' For complaining it flew
Around and around us. And then for a while
We picked, till I feared you had wandered a mile,
And I thought I had lost you. I lifted a shout
Too loud for the distance you were, it turned out,
For when you made answer, your voice was as low
As talking - you stood up beside me, you know.”

“We sha'n't have the place to ourselves to enjoy -
Not likely, when all the young Lorens deploy.
They'll be there to morrow, or even to night
They won't be too friendly - they may be polite -
To people
 they look on as having no right
To pick where they're picking. But we won't complain.
You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain
The fruit mixed with water
 in layers of leaves,
Like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves.”

Robert Frost

Blueberry time always bring my thoughts back to blueberry gathering in Alaska.   We would take the young children out for a day of blueberry picking on the tundra.

The tundra was awash with blueberries and cranberries

This wonderful Native school aide always called my wife Blueberry Eyes.

Along with teachers women of the village volunteered to help

My wife

The girls always filled their baskets, the boys ate most of theirs.
The berries were taken back to the school to make Eskimo Ice cream.

Blueberry memories
the Ol'Buzzard

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Nan’s blog, ALL THE GOOD NAMES WERE TAKEN, recently put out a blog post about police overreach – definitely food for thought.

I spent two years as military base-police where I worked with civilian police, and one year I volunteered as a diver for body retrieval with the Clay County Sheriff's Department in Florida.   From this experience I can tell you that more than a few of the cops, who I have known, were insignificant and insecure until they put on a badge and gun, then they view themselves as alpha dogs.   These are the cops you need to be afraid of - and there are a lot of them. 

Police work, like the military, attracts people without a lot of professional options.   The job especially appeals to people who desire to be vested with the authority that a badge and a gun provide for their own self-aggrandizement.    

Cops have absolute power and absolute power corrupts.  Then add militarization of police departments and you have cops out of control - cops who feed their ego by abuse of citizens.

Just like racism, you cannot get the cowboys out of policing until a whole generation of police have been replaced.    There has to be a transition of better qualified and better educated people into the police departments, and the present contingent out. 

This is my solution to the problem:
·       Raise the pay drastically.
·       Require a minimum of an associate’s degree in law enforcement to be considered for employment.
·       Require applicants to pass a general knowledge achievement test, comparable to the high school exit, exam with a C or higher.
·       Require applicants to undergo psychological testing
·       Have a twelve-week training course for accepted applicants that focuses at least 50% of the time on community and demographic understanding.
·       Require that every office spend 10% of his or her duty time (four hours a week) in community involvement.  
·       Have a standing policy that any officer that fires a weapon resulting in the loss of life, regardless of the circumstances, will be permanently transferred to an administration police, state or civil service position of equal pay and benefits where he or she will not be armed.
·       Have all police forces placed under and regulated by the Department of Justice.    
·       Demilitarize the rank and file police force.  
·       Have a special military trained SWAT (not members of the rank and file) whose only job is deployment for hostage and terrorist situations – never used for crowd control.  
·       Have an independent civilian oversight board that aggressively investigates all accusations of police corruption and police abuse of power.  This board should have the authority to suspend from duty and to recommend indictment of any officer so charged.
·       Offer early retirement to all officers within five years of vested retirement. 

The answer to police reform is not to change the attitudes of business as usual for the existing police departments – that can never be done – the existing force must have more stringent oversight from the department of justice, and the goal should be, over time, to replace the existing force with better educated more qualified career officers. 

I have heard cops brag about the number of speeding tickets they have issued in a day, and brag about ticketing cars for five miles over the limit.   These cops are not serving and protecting; they are harassing the community.   An Ideal police officer would stop a car driving over the limit, warn the driver about the need for speed limits, and only issue a ticket if the driver was blatantly driving at excessive speed: in other words, serving the community. 

This is all bullshit of course, because it would take aggressive action of Congress to enact and enforce this type of change; and politicians will never take on a difficult, controversial issues that could piss off the police lobby and affect their own tenure.

the Ol’Buzzard  



I am not a vain hair person:  I never comb my hair – I just wear it.   I like long hair, but my wife doesn’t, so I go the barbershop when she starts to remind me, again and again that I am overdue for a haircut.

I went in this morning.  We have a small barbershop with three chairs.   There are three women barbers.  Each woman has pictures of her family on the counter in front of the mirror.   There is a coat rack inside the front door, a poster on the wall with pictures of men with different hair styles, some plants in the front window and a radio playing soft music. 

Each time I go in for a haircut I can’t help but remember the barber shop of my childhood in a small Delta town in Mississippi.

 Back then a barbershop was a man’s world.   No woman would have ever gone into the barbershop even with her children.   It was a place where old men hung out and smoked and talked of farming, women, weather and politics

I remember deer heads on the wall and mounted fish, calendars with pictures of tractors and scantily clad women.  The atmosphere was heavy with smoke from cigarettes and cigars.  One old barber constantly had a cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth and the other chewed tobacco, so there were two spittoons – one near the barber and one near the door.  More than once I smelled whiskey on the breath of one of the barbers.  

The walls in the barbershop were yellowed plaster -probably from the constant smoke, and there were no mirrors. The counter with the clippers, scissors and straight razor was also full of mysterious, colorful hair products like Lucky Tiger, Jeri’s, Clubman, Brylcreem, Vitalis and others.   The floor was always covered with hair from previous cuts

I was raised by my grandmother, but when she would send me to get a haircut I entered the world of men.  I always got a friendly ribbing when I was young, but it was an inclusion, an acceptance that I would someday become one of them.  

There is no gender identity today, and some would say that is a good thing; but back then, in the forties and fifties, manhood was an exclusive club.   When you made the cut, you knew who you were and you were comfortable with your distinct gender roll.

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Sometimes in life you just have to learn to go with it – go with the flow.    Rather than fight against the current, oft times it is better to just change your destination and proceed downstream.  

I used to have a couple of small red squirrels that would raid my bird feeders.   Then about two years ago a large grey squirrel showed up – this year there are two grey squirrels.   The two original red squirrels had a litter of babies this summer (I guess you call them a litter):  two little mouse size reds that have no fear of me.  Add to this, four chipmunks and I have a rodent menagerie living in my back yard.

I tried everything to outsmart the squirrels.  I hung the feeders by concertina wire and put up baffles above the feeders, I greased the pole of my ground feeder; but nothing seemed to work. 

 I have finally come to the conclusion that in the nature order of things, in the food chain, squirrels come before birds; so trying to feed birds and not the squirrels is against the natural order. 

My squirrels love black oil sunflower seeds; but now I have another problem.   Bird scavengers are stealing food from my squirrel feeders.


the Ol’Buzzard 

Monday, July 11, 2016


The last time I posted a Gangstagrass you said you would rather stab pencils in your ears then hear bluegrass rap.   

Try this on one more time; I can almost see you boot scooting boogieing  to this. 

you're welcome
the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Leeanna.  (Can we have a new witch...) I can't post a comment on you blog without joining some kind of Googl + community.   What's up?
the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Twelfth Night: Shakespeare

My favorite Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania.

This is where the world would be without glamour.

A world of fart jokes

the Ol'Buzzard

Sunday, July 3, 2016


I am a whiskey drinker.  Being a southern boy with Kentucky roots I was weaned to bourbon.  During my years in the military I drank Old Crow – usually buying it by the half gallon.   When I retired from the military and became gainfully employed I matriculated to Scotch and Irish Whiskey.  I haven’t had a mixed drink in fifty years; with the exception of Bloody Mary.  

I was converted to the sect of Bloody Mary in Vietnam.    On Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon on Sunday morning between ten and noon the NCO Club had a special: Bloody Mary for a nickel.    Whenever I was in Saigon I would gather at the club with other lay people who chose to avoid Sunday church services, tithe a dollar, and partake of the bloody Eucharist, often with loud praise and adoration. 

A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday morning my wife and I traveled up to a great little restaurant in a rural section of north-western Maine just a few miles from the Canadian border.   I decided to have the eggs benedict with smoked salmon, and what better to have for a beverage than a Bloody Mary.   It was advertised as their ‘Signature Bloody Mary’ and that alone should have given me pause.   Instead of tomato juice they used canned whole tomatoes in a blender, adding vodka, some other secret ingredients and far too much Tabasco – this was topped off with an al’dente asparagus chute.  When they brought the watery abortion to the table there were chunks of tomato and enough tomato seeds in suspension to clog a straw, and the drink was so hot it burned the lips. 

I have witnessed the desecration of Bloody Mary before, but this was near the top.   The worst was at a hotel bar in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Their Bloody Mary was served with a jalapeno pepper at the bottom of the glass and two pickled string beans protruding – the only adjective I can link to describe their drink is: Nasty. 

Making a Bloody Mary is simple: Ice in the bottom of the glass, salt on the ice, two shots of vodka and tomato juice.  That is a Bloody Mary at its most basic, and I can worship on that.    If you want more tang to complete the transubstantiation add the Trinity: a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of Worcestershire sauce and a spritz of hot sauce (I prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce to Tabasco, as it adds the flavor without the heat.)  If you feel the need for a vegetable to stir, a stalk of celery works.  Anything beyond this is an abomination.

In Leviticus, Buzzard sharia law, chapter 13 verse 2 it states that anyone mixing a Bloody Mary with any liquor other than vodka should be driven through the streets in sackcloth and crucified on a mountain of Smirnoff bottles; and verse 3 states that anyone making a Bloody Mary with commercial Bloody Mary mix should be stripped naked, given a Tabasco enema and made to dance on a bed of shattered ice cubes – the option would be stoning.

From the Church of the Blood of Mary I wish you a happy Sunday.  
the Ol’Buzzard