Thursday, April 29, 2021

Telephone scams are running ramped again.   I get so man robo calls I don't answer my phone any more unless I recognize the caller.  So far this year I have had three scam calls left on my answering machine.  The first identified as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) saying my income tax was being audited and that I owed thousands of dollars.   They stated I should call the 'resolution line' (they listed a number) to speak to an IRS representative.   Of course, the IRS never contacts anyone by telephone.  

Over the last three weeks I have had two calls from scammers identifying as Amazon.   Each call said that a purchase of $395.99 had been made against my credit card, and that if I have made the purchase do nothing and I would receive the product.  If I did not make the purchase I was to call the Amazon Hot Line (listing a number) and talk to an Amazon representative.   

These calls, I am sure, originate from Peggy.

I can imagine some seniors panicking and being fished in to give financial or personal information.   If there are people you are concerned about that might be vulnerable to such scams - you should talk to them.

the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, April 22, 2021



My wife is Native American.  She belongs to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.  


Native Americans lived in Nature, as a part of Nature – as Nature’s children.   Their customs have always been to celebrate the earth.  


Today is Earth day.   Share in the celebration with "people of the first light"



 Wampanoag (people of the first light)


We should all take time today to marvel at the beauty and connectiveness of Nature. 


The Ol’Buzzard

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


The attached link takes you to a NASA web sight published by the Washington Post.   

Perseverance on Mars

We can not only see the surface of Mars, but actually hear sounds of Mars.  A small percentage of the human race drags us into the future.   This has been the formula of all man's accomplishments.  Progress led by a few while the rest of us live out our petty lives from day to day.   

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, April 20, 2021



I grew up in Kentucky and Mississippi back in the forties and fifties.    Men drank bourbon whiskey, so that is the hard liquor I was introduced to.   You drink your whiskey straight, with ice or a splash of water. 


 I appreciate the taste of good Bourbon or Scotch whiskey. 

  If you are going to add soda pop to it, don’t bother with the good stuff – just buy the cheap crap – you won’t notice the difference


I wasn’t much of a beer drinker until I went to Newfoundland.  In St Johns you could call the brewery and they would deliver beer to your house.   Blue Star and India – introduced me to good beer.   


Now days, young people are drinking fruit beers.  What the fuck is that?   Strawberry beer, apple beer, add a lime to your beer???


A few days ago, I was in Hannaford grocery store and in the liquor isle I saw Chocolate Whiskey!  


I give up.   This is not a world I recognize any more.


the Ol’Buzzard


Friday, April 16, 2021




The following is a comment I made on YELLOWDOG GRANNY’s   post.  



It is not about mass shooters, it is not about cop killing black people, it is not about dangerous militia; It is about guns: the availability of guns, the gun slinger attitude, the acceptance of a gun culture.   Yes, there are social, racist, anarchist, police militarization and mental illness factions that need to be addressed.   But it is the guns.  Guns are killing people.


I have lost count of the shootings this week.   Gun violence is now the normal.


I am not against gun ownership; but I am against guns being owned for the purpose of killing people. 


The answers are simple; but when half of the United States still believe that Donald Trump is the President in exile, there is no hope of common sense ever bringing about changes.


We don’t need to restrict guns; we need to address the need for them.  The only reason to own a gun in the United states is for hunting and home protection.  With that in mind, rifle and shotgun ownership should require a hunting license.  Pistol ownership should require a gun permit and background check.


Hunting rifles should be bolt-action and a maximum capacity of five rounds.   If you can’t take you prey with five shots you shouldn’t be out in the woods armed.  Shotguns should be single shot, double barreled, or pump with a three-shot capacity.  Handguns should be limited to a six-round capacity.


Military type assault weapons designed specifically to kill humans should be banned.


Police training, armament and use of force are a total other subject that should be addressed separately. 


This, of course, is pie-in-the-sky.  No common-sense gun regulation will ever be accomplished in the United States in the 21st century.  We are a gun violent society.


How many hours before the next gun death, or should the question be in minutes?

the Ol’Buzzard   



Wednesday, April 14, 2021



I am a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast.  Back in 2000 I wrote this essay for The Occupants of the Empty House, a scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars.  It would help to read The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, by Conan Doyle to fully understand the context.  However the essay covers some interesting history of Vampirism in 1600 and 1700 Europe.







But first, on earth as Vampire sent,

Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:

Then ghastly haunt thy native place,

And suck the blood of all thy race;

There from thy daughter, sister, wife,

At midnight drain the stream of life;

Yet loathe the banquet which perforce

Must feed thy livid living corpse.

Thy victims are they not yet expire

Shall know the demon for their sire,

As cursing thee, thou cursing them,

Thy flowers withered on the stem.

From: “The Gaiour,” by Lord Byron


Whether we should consider the Vampire included in the study of Flora and Fauna in the Canon would be a matter of interpretation.   The Random House College Dictionary defines fauna as “the animal of a given region or period.” 


Baring-Gould set the date for “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” as taking place between Thursday, November 19, to Saturday, November 21, 1896.   Charles Darwin had published The Origin of Species in 1859, and a case could be made that even by 1896 many enlightened persons would consider man to be included in fauna. 


Holmes: “The idea of a vampire was to me absurd.   Such things do not happen in criminal practice in England”


Between 1600 and 1800 while Britain and Western Europe were in the throws of witch mania, Eastern Europe was experiencing a vampire frenzy.   In the east, even government officials frequently were involved in hunting and staking vampires.   Westerners never seriously considered the existence of vampires until the mid-eighteenth century when there was an outbreak of alleged vampire attacks in East Prussia (1721), and Austro-Hungary (1725).


Two famous cases involved Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paole.   Plogojowitz died at the age of 62, but returned to raise havoc among his family and neighbors, many who died from loss of blood.  Plogojowitz’s grave was opened and his body was found to be fresh. 


Arnold Paole was an ex-soldier who claimed to have experienced a vampire attack while serving in Greece.   Upon returning home he died from a fall while working on his farm.   Within two months after Paole’s burial there were attacks attributed to him.   All of the victims died shortly after.   Two military officers, two army surgeons, and a priest exhumed Arnold Paole’s body; and the corpse was found to be fresh.   Over the next five years there were a number of inexplicable deaths.   A mass exhumation was carried out in 1732, and eleven corpses were found to display the same trait as Paole – no decomposition.  


Both of these cases were well documented by government officials who examined the facts and the bodies.   These two cases created an epidemic of alleged vampire attacks in rural villages resulting in a score of bodies being exhumed.  Eventually the Austrian Empress Marie Theresa sent her personal physician to investigate.   He reported back to her that vampires did not exist.   The Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and the desecration of bodies, bringing and end to the vampire frenzy of Austria.   (Vampires in Myth and History, by Beverley Richardson)


One reason for the dichotomy of folklore between Western and Eastern Europe can be attributed to the split that took place in 1054 between the Orthodox Church in the east and the Roman Catholic Church in the west.   A difference that can be linked to centralizing the vampire myth to Eastern Europe was the belief of the Catholic Church that the bodies of saints would not decay in the grave, while the Orthodox Church believed that undecayed corpses were a sign of evil and a link with Satan. 


In 1486 the church had published The Malleus Maleficarium as a handbook for the discovery and eradication of witches.   It also covered vampires and how they should be dealt with.  By 1600 this treatise was being used as the ‘bible’ by witch and vampire hunters across Europe.  (Christianity and Vampirism, by Angie McKaig)


Holmes: “Make a long arm Watson and see what V has to say.”   I leaned back and took down the great volume to which he referred…  “Hello!   Good old index.  You can’t beat it.   Listen to this, Watson.   Vampirism in Hungary and again Vampires in Transylvania.  


Vampire myths go back thousands of years and occur in almost every culture.   The Vampire folklore spreads out along the Black Sea Coast to Greece, the Balkans and Carpathian Mountains, including Hungary and Transylvania.   The Slavic people from Russia to Bulgaria and Serbia to Poland also had rich vampire folklore (B. Richardson)


He turned over the pages with eagerness, but after perusal he threw down the great book with a snarl of disappointment.  “Rubbish, Watson, rubbish!  What have we to do with walking corpses who can only be held in their graves by stakes driven through their hearts?   It’s pure lunacy.”


The vampires of folklore of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have only basic similarities to the vampire fiction of today.   The vampires then did not fly, or wear capes, or change into bats.   A man who was contaminated died, then returned to feed on the blood of his family and neighbors.   After a while (anywhere from a few days to a few years, depending on the country of the occurrence) he became more humanlike and was indistinguishable from living humans.   He was able to remain out in the daylight and eat normal food.   At this time he would move to another town and often get married and have children, reverting to his blood lust only on weekends or certain saint’s days.  (The socially Sophisticated Undead in Folklore, by Patrick Johnson)


Considering the original vampire legends, the action of Delores Ferguson could well have been interpreted as vampirism.  Though vampire fiction became popular in the eighteen hundreds in Britain, the stereotype of today’s vampire fiction was not yet embedded.   In 1813 the vampire appeared in Britain in Lord Byron’s poem “The Giaour.”   In 1819 John Polidori wrote The Vampire on a challenge from Lord Byron (Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein at the same challenge/time).   And, in 1848 Varney the Vampyre began serialization as a penny dreadful.   If we accept Baring-Gould’s date of the Sussex incident as 1896, Holmes was conducting his investigation one year before Bram Stoker introduced Dracula and set the pattern for vampire fiction, as we know it today.


Accounts of vampirism in the rural areas of Eastern Europe were not unheard of even in Sherlock Holmes’s time.   In Twelve Years’ Study of the Eastern question in Bulgaria by S. B. G. St. Clair and Charles A. Brophy (London: Chapman and Hall, 1877) the authors account an episode that alleged to have taken place in the 1840’s in the village in Bulgaria in which they were presently living.   The Locals told them that a man had arrived in the village and established himself as a tradesman.  He married a local girl, but his new wife complained that he was out every night until dawn.   Cattle and horses became sick and died and it was noted that blood had been drained out of them.   The village suspected the man of being a vampire and   when they examined him they found he had only one nostril – a sure sign that he was a vampire.   The villagers bound him, took him to a hill outside the village, and burned him alive.   Surely with Holmes’s penchant for the unusual he had knowledge of this and other incidents.  


Watson: “A living person might have the habit.   I have read, for example, of the old sucking the blood of the young in order to retain their youth.”

“You are right, Watson.   It mentions the legend in one of these references.   But are we to give serious attention to such things?”


The reference is obviously of Elizabeth Bathory who was born a noblewoman to a powerful family in Transylvania in 1560.   Elizabeth was married as a teenager, but lived with a constant fear of aging.   Her husband died in 1604 and she moved to Vienna.   Countess Elizabeth became convinced that the blood of young girls was the secret to eternal youth and beauty.   She is believed to have murdered more than six hundred young women in order to have blood to drink and bathe in.   In December of 1610 she was put on trial for her crimes, but being a noblewoman she was not allowed by law to be sentenced to death.   She was sentenced to life imprisonment in her castle in Cachtice, where she died in August 1614.  (Who is Elizabeth Bathory? By Angie McKaig)


Holmes constantly reminds us that it is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts (SCAN, SECO, STUD) – yet in the case of the Sussex Vampire he does exactly that.   Before leaving Baker Street he had decided the outcome of the case, and he commences to pursue his investigation to secure the facts to support his theory.   Considering the extensive vampire folklore of Eastern Europe that goes back for centuries, why is Holmes so adamant and closed-minded in considering the possibility of the existence of vampires?   IS this an indication of some prior experience with the preternatural, supernatural, and things that go bump in the night?   This is the real mystery in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.”

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, April 13, 2021




I had a friend in Newfoundland that use to call bought bread, baker’s fog.   His wife made bread the old fashion way almost every day.


We started making our own bread about 1986.  We were teaching school in an Athabaskan Indian village about 150 miles north of Fairbanks. Alaska.   My wife and I together taught grades kindergarten through six.  The planning involved left very little time for bread making, or anything else, so a bread machine was the answer.


Our first machine was a DAK we bought before returning to the village for the second year. 

This was before the internet, so there was no buying on line.  The machine made passable bread, but the loafs were round.   We have always referred to that first machine as R2-D2. 


About eight years later, in the nineties, we bought our second bread machine, a Breadman Ultra, and it made great bread.

  We have gone through two Breadman machines, and last year our last one bit the dust.  We ordered another Breadman, but it was a piece of garbage and we returned it  


Now we have a Cuisinart and it is, in our opinion, the best we have owned.  




Today’s society requires instant gratification.   People buy bread machines, and if the bread doesn’t turn out the first few times they use it, they declare the breadmaker is at fault. 


Making consistently good bread with a bread machine requires some amount of practice.   When the ingrediency begin to mix, you need to know what a good dough looks like, and make adjustments.  Eventually you will have your recipe down pat and will make consistently good bread. 


We make one-and-a-half pound loafs, because the two-pound bread slices are too big for the toaster. 



Exact measurements are necessary.

1 1/8 cup of water goes into the bread pan

2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil are added

3 cups of all-purpose flower added (not bread flour.)

1 tablespoon of sugar on one side of the pan

1 teaspoon of salt on the other side of the pan

1 Teaspoon of Fleischmann’s yeast (not bread machine yeast or rapid yeast) in the middle of the pan.  

(recipes that came with our bread machine call for two or more teaspoons of yeast – this is not necessary – one teaspoon works great.)


We select the White Bread setting, 1 1/2 pound loaf

When the ingredients start to mix, wait a few minutes then scrape the sides of the bread pan to remove any sticky dough.   Our machine beeps just before the last kneading and we remove the bread pan, dump the dough on a flowered sheet and remove the paddle, kneed the dough a few times to shape a loaf and replace the dough in the bread pan and return it to the breadmaker. 


Cutting the bread is a skill I never mastered well and often resulted in slices too thick or too thin.  I have now found the solution


Bambusi bamboo bread slicer.

I am still working on perfection, but again anything done well takes practice.    

the Ol'Buzzard 




Wednesday, April 7, 2021



The Blog Fodder recently posted about old time preachers.  I am old enough to remember the tent revival preachers that use to travel throughout the south.  They shouted about sin, were backed up by a gospel choir, would invite people to come up and be saved, even did some faith healing; and when everyone was in the spirit they passed the plates.

But in the hills of Kentucky there was a Pentecostal group that kept their faith hidden.   I always think of this story by Wendy Bagwell.  

These groups are outlawed, but still exist in the hills of Kentucky and West Virginia.   

the Ol'Buzzard



HercLeon, a Minnesota company has created a revolutionary new product: Self Cleaning Underwear.  The products is named Kribi; and the manufacturers say the product can go weeks and even months without washing, and as long as you “let them air out for a few hours after a day of use, the’ll smell as fresh as unworn underwear.”


Finally, a product for Covid isolation.  Now, along with wearing the same pajamas or sweats every day, we can also wear the same underwear.  


the Ol’Buzzard