Monday, January 31, 2022



I like most music; but Bluegrass is in my soul.   

If you haven’t listened to Bluegrass, besides the stringed instrumentation, the vocal accompaniment is always treble - above the melody; where in most music the vocal accompaniment is usually bass – below the central melody – a strong bass component.


the Ol’Buzzard



The world is mad.  But in my memory, the world has always been mad.


There is anarchy in the country – there has always been anarchy in the country.


There are violent people in the world – there have always been violent people in the world


There is social unrest – there has always been social unrest.


Political groups don’t cooperate, so nothing gets done, except the rich get richer – it has always been that way.


There is war on the horizon – there has always been war on the horizon when we are in the interlude between wars.


This is the normal chaotic human condition.


The human race is the despicable alpha predator of this earth era.  As individuals we are amiable enough, but as a species we are deadly.   Our only saving grace is that somewhere in that 3% DNA that we differ with our first cousins, chimpanzees, we have been able to create music, art and literature.   


Listen to the Ol’Buzzard: There is not a fucking thing, as individuals, we can do about the chaotic condition of the world we live in.  We can try to ignore the crazy; or get caught up in the crazy, obsess about the crazy, and go crazy. 


Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.  We are all allotted three score and ten on this earth, and as we get toward the end, we realize how much of our time has been squandered.   What a wonderful thing life is, but it is finite.    The beautiful things we ignore, as we are caught up in the chaos of our species, we can’t go back and retrieve.


So what is the answer?  There is no answer.   You put your right foot in, you put your right foot our, you put your right foot in and you shake it all about. You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around.   That’s what it’s all about!


Our thoughts should go out to our brother blogger The Blog Fodder in the Ukraine who is caught up in the insanity of human instigated chaos. 


Did I run and Am I tired?

the Ol’Buzzard









Saturday, January 29, 2022



I am in my eighth decade and getting more absent minded.   Yesterday I put together a bread; and when the bell rang on the bread-maker I took out the dough and realized I had not mixed in the yeast. 


Last night I made a fish chowder: sautéed onions, carrots, celery and garlic, put in two bottles of clam juice, added diced potatoes, a hand-full of thyme, and cooked until tender.   Finally, poured in a pint of Half and Half cream and a quarter-stick of butter.    Then realized the fish was still in the refrigerator. I had to add the salmon and halibut late to the recipe.  A fish chowder without fish?


Ok, twice in the same day: fuck me silly with a handy-billy.    But I am not overly concerned. 


Our brains are computers and have a finite storage capacity in the hard drives.  Some young people are just starting to fill their hard-drives; some people will never fill them, and most of us are overloaded at my age. 


Before covid, my wife and I would often go into the college cafeteria for a coffee and a sandwich after our walk around town.   The young twenty-somethings would look at us dismissively.   We were obviously  below their level of competence, knowledge and experience: old people. 


Fifteen years prior, these same young people were just learning not to crap their pants and piss their beds.  The spent the next seven years learning to read, write, and retain some basic math and science facts. Their last five years in school were consumed with the idea of sex, and trying to figure how to put what in where.  Now they are in college and know everything - and old people are just in their way.  But in reality, their hard drives are practically empty.


I have done everything these young people have done-plus.  I have lived in eight states; spent 13 years in the arctic and sub-arctic; I have spent seven years deployed between Italy, Spain, Portugal, Azores, Bermuda, Cuba, Porto Rico, Iceland, Vietnam, and Newfoundland; I have been to Turkey, Greece, Libya, Scotland and England; I have almost a thousand military flight hours and have been in two crash landings; I have been a winter-bush survival instructor, Maine State Guide, a school teacher and a principal. I have canoed the Allagash River and the Okefenokee swamps.  I have met thousands of people, and had thousands of experiences – many forgotten.   


I don’t use a cell phone, have a Face Book page, Tweet, play War Craft and video games; because I don’t care to.    I don’t take make-believe parachute jumps with virtual reality glasses – I have already done that in real life.   And I definitely get annoyed when Microsoft wants to download and update on my ten-year old computer.


Young people are not at fault.  In reality this is their world, and my time is past.   But in their egocentricity they don’t realize my hard drive is full and theirs are virtually empty.


Does it bother me that I can’t always come up with the word I want to say, or forget to put the yeast in the bread or the fish in the chowder?   A little.    But that is the cost of a world of experiences I have lived.     


All those experiences are downloaded on my hard drive, and unfortunately there is not an optimize button to sort and order all the data: so occasionally I am going to grope for a word or forget to put the damn yeast in the bread.  My hard drive is full.    It comes with the age .   But this is still the best time of my life. 


Did I run and Am I tired?

the Ol’Buzzard


Sunday, January 23, 2022



 All history books are historical fiction.    Books are written by people and therefore reflect that person.    Every history has a point of view reflective of the author’s nationality, social leanings, religion, prejudices and imagination.


We seem to think what we would think

And know what we would know

Our thoughts are always prejudiced

To the way we want to go.


One of the greatest historical fictions is the Bible: A book written by superstitious, racist, sexist people who considered a wheelbarrow as cutting-age technology and believed everything they didn’t understand was magic.


To me, the greatest character in all historical fiction is Eve:






Fuck you.


We should hold up Eve as an example to our children: a young woman who opted for knowledge over ignorance, even at the threat of death.


the Ol’Buzzard



Saturday, January 22, 2022


 If I could be in charge of hospitals, I would place a security guard at the entrance of the emergency room.   As sick people came up to the door he would ask; 

'Are you vaccinated and have you had your booster?'


'Fuck off.'

the Ol'Buzzard



It is nineteen below zero outside, thankfully no wind.   My furnace is running constantly using fuel, but our house is warm.   Central Maine Power just doubled their rate for power consumption and my light bill jumped from $100 to $140 for the same amount of energy consumption last month.   The cats are in bed with my wife.  They always dive in as soon as I get up to feed them.  They are big cats so they take up my side of the bed.  


I have been nursing a cup of tea and thinking how comforting it would be to light up my pipe, which has a prominent place on my bookcase.     We quit smoking in 1986, but I have always missed my pipe.   A pipe is more than smoking, it is a familiar friend.  Only someone from my generation could understand that.


Our Cuisinart pressure cooker is twenty-nine years old.  The gasket has become brittle and needs replacement.   The pressure cooker is stainless steal and otherwise fine, but Cuisinart no longer produces this model or supports it.   I did an extensive internet search and the only pressure cooker gasket that would fit our unit is available in England and cost 28 pounds plus shipping to the U.S.   Therefore, I have retired a perfectly good pressure cooker and replaced it with an electronic model that is computer controlled and does everything automatically – except it will, in no way, last three decades.   There will probably be a new-improved model out within the next five years. 


I am on the extinction list.   I have come from a different time and don’t actually fit this era.   My values are different.   I don’t do text messaging and only carry a cell phone when I am traveling – and then don’t turn it on.  My favorite handknitted wool sweater is forty-six years old.  My L.L. Bean coat and Moose River hat are over twenty years old.   When I was growing up men carried pocket knives – I do.    I don’t like impermanence; I don’t like things that are designed to be replaceable.    I still use an analog wrist watch, and have, and sometimes use, the pocket watch of my grandfather.

People of my generation are mostly gone, but some how I hang on. 


Don’t get me wrong.  Life is worth living: sex is great, good food is great, Scotch whiskey is great, fresh tomatoes are great, cats are great companions…


Did I run and am I tired?

the Ol’Buzzard

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday, January 14, 2022




If I am making toast out of store-bought bread, I like it burnt, otherwise, to me, it is tasteless.


I knew an old man in Newfoundland who lived around the bay.   His wife made homemade bread almost every day.  He called the store-bought bread Bakers Fog.  


My wife and I started making homemade bread in a bread machine in 1985 while we were teaching in a Native village 150 miles north of Fairbanks.   It was a six-hour drive on a single lane road across the tundra, if the weather was good.  It was a potentially dangerous trip at the best of times.


Our first machine was made by DAK and looked like the R-2 D-2 robot in the early Star Wars movies.  


After that the Breadman was our choice of bread machine; but their quality went to crap along with a collapsible paddle that would pop lose during the breadmaking process.   We have even tried the expensive Swedish, two paddle machine which turned out inconsistent quality.   We now have a Cuisinart and I am extremely pleased with it.  (I like most Cuisinart products, but their toaster sux).


Bread making is so easy and the quality of bread is so good, I don’t know why most people don’t own a bread machine.


I think people that have tried bread machines, but found them inadequate, probably tried artisan and sourdough breads before mastering the basic white bread.  They ended up with doughy or grainy or just bad tasting results.   It is like signing up for karate classes and then jumping into a cage with a mixed martial arts fighter.   


The basic white bread recipe is easy:

1 1/8 cup of water

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp of sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

In that order.  Exact measurements of flour, olive oil and water are critical.  Many recipes call for more than one teaspoon of yeast – but I have never found it necessary.


The next step is optional:  The Cuisinart beeps after the final kneed.  At that time, I pause the machine, remove the bread pan, dump the dough onto a floured surface, remove the paddle, reshape the dough and return it to the pan and the bread machine.   Otherwise, the paddle gets baked into the base of the bread and you end up with a hole in the bread when you removing the paddle. 


I let my bread sit for about four hours before sealing it in a plastic storage bag.  I let the bread sit on the counter overnight before slicing.


The hardest part of the whole process is slicing.  I have ended up with a bamboo bread slicing gismo that I like; but it has taken me many loafs of bread before becoming proficient.   

Just like karate, you need to practice.


You can not beat the taste of toast made with homemade white bread.


Did I run and

And am I tired?

the Ol’Buzzard





Wednesday, January 12, 2022



Thanks to her goddess she is back

the Ol'Buzzard

Monday, January 10, 2022


The seasons in northern Maine are winter, mud season, bug season and fall.   Fall and winter are our favorites.

The high temperature today in the north-western mountains of Maine will be 16 degrees; but tonight the temps drop to a -6 Fahrenheit (-21 Celsius).   Tomorrow's high will be 3 degrees and tomorrow night -8.     These temperatures are concerning as people's water pipes often freeze, cars don't start and black ice can be on the roads.  

All temperatures, however, are relative.   When we lived in a Native Alaskan village north of Fairbanks we had an Alaskan thermometer that went down to -55.   There were a number of times that the mercury dropped into the bowl so we knew we were colder than -55.   At those temperatures we wore insulated clothing and only our face was uncovered in our hoods.  We didn't feel the bite of the cold as much as the sinuses in our foreheads and faces ached when outside.  The natives (Athabascans) in the village wore much lighter clothing and the cold didn't seem to bother them as much; though I would meet the elementary children at the door of the school and check them for frost bite as they entered.    When the temps came up to -20 we dressed down and it felt comparatively warm.  

This is not a complaint.  My wife and I are winter people.  We live north because we prefer the cold to the heat.  We love the snow and the crisp temperatures; but by March I am ready for them to go - by July I am looking forward to them again.  

the Ol'Buzzard

Friday, January 7, 2022




I know my blog is most often negative.  I tend to post about the things that bother me, mainly the shortcomings of the human race.  I also sometimes post about my No Bullshit Buddhism – the philosophy of living that I try to adhere to, but not well. 


Buddhism and a negative outlook may seem incompatible; but in my perspective of No Bullshit Buddhism, it is reasonable.


 All the supposed sayings attributed to the Buddha are just as much bullshit as the red print in the Christian Bible – supposedly said by Jesus.


Organized Buddhism, like all organized religions, has lost the concept of the Buddha.   All its bells and whistles, its tomes and volumes of creeds, its ceremonies robes and trappings have moved away from the basic concept the Buddha supposedly discovered as he meditated near death under the bodhi tree, and was brought a bowl of rice and a cup of cool water by a beautiful young girl.    


In basic Buddhism under the bodhi tree, the Buddha never promised happiness; he never promised a utopia, he never promised freedom from death or a life after.   The Buddha just proclaimed that life is full of strife; but life is also a gift and we should live it and appreciate it the best we can in each moment.


Right now, our country is in chaos.   Violence and anarchy are the herald of the news.   A virus pandemic threatens our lives and the lives of the people we love.    Every moment discontent is fermented by the people around us; and in reality, there is nothing we can do in the moment to mediate the mayhem. 


I am living in my eighth decade and my future is finite.   I am past my sell-by date, so I don’t have time to rage and rant against the insanity of the human race.   It has always been here and will always be here until it extinguishes itself. 


This morning it is snowing.  Beautiful, large soft white flakes are drifting down from a grey sky.  My wife, who I love dearly, is sitting in the room with me, and soon we will be contemplating breakfast.  


the Ol’Buzzard


Saturday, January 1, 2022



On December 25 the wife and I ordered a pizza and watched football on TV.

The James Webb Telescope was launched.  It will be able to look back in time 300 million years after the Big Bang when the first stars were forming, and make remarkable discoveries in our own solar system.

On the 28 of December, we had some snow and I had to break out the snowblower and clear my parking place.

The James Webb Telescope deployed its sun shield.

On New Year’s Eve my wife and I had Hopping John for supper and today, New Years, we plan to kick back and relax – have a Cat Day reading, sleeping and eating.

At 8:40 EST, The James Webb Telescope is 470,807 miles from earth traveling at 1,485 miles per hour.

My wife and I will try to stay isolated for the foreseeable future, only going out to shop when necessary, in an attempt to avoid the corona virus.

The James Webb Telescope will eventually reach a point in space where the gravity of earth will cancel out the gravity of the sun.  At this zero-gravity point it will enter a sun/earth orbit, and remain there stationary for eons to come. 

 Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, 

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, 

To the last syllables of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.  Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage.

And then is heard no more.  It is a tale

Told by and idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

        Shakespeare - Macbeth

Fuck it.   Wine makes everything better

the Ol'Buzzard