How to Read a Blogger – March 30, 2021

You mean, ‘How to read a blog’ don’t you?

No.  It stands as titled: How to read a blogger.

A blogger of any real skill puts more into a blog than words.  You may feel you feast simply on the words written, but there’s more to it than that.  Understanding this maximizes your enjoyment, education, and connection with a blogger.

Speaking of the writing quality of the bloggers I follow, if you read one’s post or page uneducated (unenlightened) to its history, genesis, and intent, you will find benefit.  Quality writing will do that.  Your benefit, I daresay, will not be as great as it would if you knew something of the author.  As much as one can know someone you have not met and likely will never meet.

I choose to follow blogs because

Coming across a new blog, I read one or two posts drawn to them exactly as everyone else, by title and accompanying graphics.  Intrigued, I’ll look for an “about” or some such1 to give me a clue about who the author is, what we might have in common, or what wild differences there are between us.2

Why?  Because ‘About’ will tell me what their life experiences are, perhaps a clue to understanding their style, where they are from, (with limited accuracy) how old they are, and occasionally significant, their gender and otherwise orientation.

“Oh,” you say, “I don’t need any of this to appreciate their writing.”  Maybe not.  My appreciation is enhanced knowing the difficulties they overcame to write what they did.  An alternate gender point-of-view.  A life tragedy overcome or currently being wrestled into submission.  Shoe size.  Pet peeves.

Humor

We all see humor differently.  It takes a ton of reading to accurately pick-up on a blogger’s particular sense of humor.  Clever bloggers, the good’ns, will change their approach from time to time, chapter to chapter. Slapstick, insinuation and innuendo, pun-ish-ness, satire, hyperbole, melancholy, and absurdity look a little different faced head-on.  Music is universal.  Humor is not.

Life experience

A relative youth in college (or “university”) will throw life at me very much different from the way Grandpa looking back on seventy years will.  A life-long steel-hanger’s perspective won’t be the same as that of a retired neurosurgeon’s.  A gung-ho macho dewd will talk a shade different than a lady who finally got a crop full and is about setting the world straight.  A farmer will use the same words a born-and-raised urbanite does with another flavor.  Religion.  Loves won and lost, afflictions conquered or resigned-to, and favorite color (colour) socks skew worldview.

Who they were and who they are

Kind of trading on “past experience,” it takes willingness to accept people with all their warts and pimples (we’re not all beautiful) to recognize the curmudgeon, the clown, the philosopher, the poet, the fatalist, the apologist, the idiot, and the genius standing (as it were) right next to us.  Has nothing and everything to do with experience. If I know someone struggles to accept a behavior or circumstance then deliver a message not too salty for that experience, I recognize their efforts to be truthful.  Or entertaining. And thought-provoking.

Do not make light of ethnicity or nationality.  Unintentionally someone from the US(of)A will say (write) something someone from England or Spain does not understand. Someone from India or Italy may, but it’s not a safe bet. I don’t fully appreciate British humor, Indian philosophy, Irish tomfoolery, or an Italian’s calm stoicism.  That’s culture, and I’m working on my shortcomings.  If you know where a blogger calls home (and how long s/he has been there) you stand a better chance of interpreting them correctly.

(Don’t fault me for nationality stereotypes. Used here, they are for illustration.)

Axes they grind

Republicans and Democrats.3  Conservatives and Liberals.  Right-Left-Central.  Pro-Life.  Gun Control. Hawks-Doves.  Coke and Pepsi.4   Many bloggers keep the axes they are grinding hidden in their tool shed.  What a surprise if ever they bring them out.  Stance on any issue flavors written exercise.  Truly talented bloggers work around, over, and through predispositions, prejudices, and preferences.  Usually.  There are times one must take a stand. There are times, agree or not, one must allow for that.

Favored genre

Bloggers come in odd assortments.  Poets, some specializing, some effectively and creatively all over the poetic range.  Essayists, short story mavens.  Flash fictioners.  Novelists – short and long-winded.  Most have a favorite form and genre.  Talented, one will slap you topside your head when you pick them up looking for example, for a limerick or Haiku to find they’ve gone full-blown prose on you.  An op-edist may go melancholy.  A satirist becomes serious. That humorist has written a horror piece.

And some are in it purely for commercial reasons. Here you can fault me. I accept those blogs but as a rule pay as much attention to them as radio adverts for stomach acid.

Too, there are DIY-ish specialists. Coobook artisans. Dog and kitty cat advisors. Travelogue writers. Yup, I follow them. It is, however the “creative” bloggers I refer to here.

Understanding a blogger’s “normal” or preferred style and form you cannot help but be amazed at their versatility.  After admiring that versatility, you are impressed reading what they’ve got for you knowing more what they mean literally, through double entendre, and perhaps seeing a known philosophy twist meaning one-hundred eighty from what others see.

There is more, of course…

Ethnicity.  Religion.  Politics.  Ford/Chevy preference.  Cat or dog person? But, I’m scaring a lot of readers.  Some are genuinely lexiphobic.

Blogging’s flip side

Following a blogger, invest yourself in their work.  You will benefit.  On the unlikely chance a blogger does not respond, you learn something of yourself, putting your thoughts into words anyway. Comment.  Ask questions.  Because no puddle can be splashed-through without a bit of damp on trouser cuffs, most bloggers (that I follow anyway) will delight in comment gave-take.  Why? Because it’s personal.  As much as it can be personal half a world away.  Or several galaxies away, in some cases.  The blog author knows this and learns from every5 exchange.  What you have to say (consider this: more what you don’t say, but what you think) will be assimilated into the blogger’s mindset, understanding, and world view.

Most beneficial to you, if something pleases or entertains you, your listening blogger is encouraged to deliver some kind of encore.

Yup. Hear ya.  There are one or two bloggers out there who write solely for their own needs. That, I admit, I do not entirely understand but cannot deny it legitimacy. And there are those of this ilk that warrant watching. All the more important you know who they are and what they are all about.

Far and away bloggers are extroverts or extroverted introverts, safe in the distance a blog puts between them and an audience.  Still, they “listen.”  It’s unavoidable.  They may (unlikely) ignore you, but they will listen.

For the larger part of the blogging community, lacking readers (commenting or not) and not receiving some feedback, good or bad6, a blogger might just as well pack it in, go home, and learn to crochet. Suspect there’s a blog they can follow for that.

Curtain, Act I

I’d love to set this aside, develop it more carefully and methodically, and make it a reference.  This has been pretty-much a poke it out as it bubbles-up affair.  There isn’t time.  So here it is.  Maybe we’ll revisit the subject in the future.

In the way of a PSA, personal events have strong potential to keep me away from the keyboard for several days, soon.  Not to worry, close blog friends.  A bit of family tragedy.  The Boss and I are well though we must tend affairs.  Absent from the keyboard, one or two of you may miss my inane posts.  I most certainly will miss yours.7  Catching-up is not the way to go, it always leaves me feeling I’ve missed something, but I’ll be forced into doing just that.

After tomorrow, I’ll catch you on the re-run.

1 Imagine my disappointment when an author has no “About.”  There are legitimate reasons they might not. Respect that.  Revel in the mystery.

2   Eyes and mind wide open, I’ve learned much from bloggers with views different from mine and even those whose genres or writing styles are ones I might not think I could appreciate. 

3 I’m not going to attempt Tory, Whig, or Labour equivalence.  I have enough difficulty with Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives.  Vegetarian, Vegan and Carnivore. Most of the time, I don’t give a rip, you know?

4 Or RC Cola, or Dr. Pepper or Nehi.  Irn Bru or Fanta.  San Pellegrino or Crodina. Bundaberg or Saxby. Cut me some slack.

5 I was sorely tempted to qualify this.  I’ll let it go that “me too” comments are watery things at best lacking ongoing dialogues between commentators.  Suffice it to suggest, insubstantial or nonexistent investment gets in return exactly what you would expect – little or nothing.

6 If you’ve a comment less than complimentary, best you keep it to yourself, couch it in the politest terms, or do what I call, “approaching the bench” – sending the author a personal note through the contact page. If you love green but the blog author who wrinkled your tissue loves red, you are not going to proselytize them with a public comment.  They are committed to their cause or they wouldn’t blog it.  If a blogger is open-minded and your argument eloquent, you may make progress.  Realize however, “conversions” of this sort can work either way.

7 My blogs are inane.  Yours are brilliant, insightful, thought-provoking, humorous, romantic, educational, sentimental, and inspiring.  Not necessarily all at the same time.  I’m watching to see you receive your Hugos, Hobbos, Nobels, Pulitzers…

Circumstances – March 29, 2021

Um, long short flash. Fiction. Purely fiction.

Been out of town for about thirty years. Really out of town.  Out of state. Out of the country.  Long enough if I didn’t have friends in high places, I’d have had serious problems getting back into the country. Long enough I’d learned an exotic new language. Learned it very well.

Near the end, I got “disabled.”  So I was “retired.”

With a handsome pension and money I’d never spent for thirty years, I knew what I wanted.  I’d had a belly full of fast, fast, and dangerous. A nice hobby ranch sounded just right.  Problem was, the only place I really understood was where I grew up.

It fit the bill.  Out of sight. Out of mind. So far out of sight and out of mind even the folks who lived there half the time didn’t recognize the place.

Bucolic.

Bought the old Hix place.  Had it fixed-up.  Moved in and started being retired. As a hobby rancher.  Bumped into Frank Timmons.  We’d never been buds. For some reason he figured we were.

“Say.  Seen Francis Detweiler.”

“She’s why I left, Frank. You knew that. She dumped me.  Unceremoniously. Cut deep.”

“You know what?”

“Frank, I been gone thirty-odd years. What the hell do I know?”

“After you left, she realized the mistake she’d made. Regretted it.”

“You going somewhere with this?”

“Never seriously saw another man.”

“Unfortunate.  I never seriously saw another woman.”

“She knows you’re back.”

“Again, Frank, you have a point?”

“Said she’d like to see you.”

“What in hell for?”

“She never married, you know?”

“Frank, how would I know? Why would I care?”

“I think she carries a torch.”

“Ah. You’re on a mission here.”

“Well, yes, I guess I am.”

“Frank?”

“Yeah?”

“Next time you see Francis?”

“Yeah?”

“Tell her I’m not interested.”

In the News – March 28, 2021

Where most of it is destined anyway.

Not all the good stuff or even all interesting stuff.  Just stuff that has bees in my bonnet.

Middle Tennessee

Moan, whine, bellyache.   Yep.  Again.  Or still.  All night long, rain and serious lightning.  Early evening yesterday, I was tending grill, believing the best (worst) of storms done with, watched lightning dance through the skies.  For a while no thunder, just dancing cloud-cloud and in-cloud lightning.  Scary stuff.  Like one of those Tesla coils. Thin, spidery, constant lightning.

Later, six-pm-ish, and until 4 am, constant, occasionally tremendous, house-shaking thunder accompanied about every fifth rumble with a light-the-whole-room flash of brilliant white.

Did I mention rain?  Almost six inches for the day.  A record.  Amber, Tornado, Severe storm, and flash flood alerts are mind-jarring.  Last night four, count’m four, flash flood warnings. We’re on quite high ground here at Casa SPWilcen.  But the rain is still a worry. This morning on my newsfeed I saw the interstates were flooded.  Flooded streets are scary anyway.  For the tales told of vehicles being swept away, and worse for the recounting of brainchildren who insist on driving through these temporary rivers.

I am reminded of the 2010 May flood.  That was a doozy.  It will take a few days for the upstream hills, creeks, and feeders to empty into the Cumberland River.  I wouldn’t expect this will be anything like that.  Hmm.  Memphis?  You expect this from the Mighty Miss.

Today, sunshine. Scattered clouds. Mostly sunny.  I hate that.  Not the sunshine.  The fact that it waltzes in the day after a deluge, like, “Hey kiddies!  Did you miss me? Here I am!  It’s all good now.” Kind of like the lover who announces the morning after that they forgive you and it’s all just peachy.  When you know in your heart-of-hearts you have done nothing requiring forgiveness.  Unless you consider your stupidity for finding yourself in that kind of relationship in the first place.

Suez Hydrodynamics

Okay.  What ding-dong didn’t know the limitations of the canal vis-à-vis the size of the phallic symbol he intended to test the itty-bitty waterway with?  Umm.  Isn’t there a Captain School or something?  Or is a certificate one of those two box-tops deals?  Sideways?  Seriously?  “Ugh. Tight squeeze. Maybe take a shot at it broadside – any fool can do it straight-on!”  Yeah, right, blame it on the wind.

San Diego Comic-Con

Gonna have an in-person convention Thanksgiving.  Whew!  I mean, yeah, that’s pretty important.  But not to me.  Not, I suspect, to very many real people.  People with actual lives. “Let’s dress-up in leotards like every other third person there, paint our faces, and act super sophisticated.”  Sure.  Sounds right.

(US) Midwest Land Rush

Lookit. We have surplus problems (not only, but for example meat and dairy) we cannot figure out how to equitably control.  Equitably? For the producer, for the (sigh) middlemen, and (it seems) a teensy bit for the consumer.  Uptick in government support.  (Okay, I’ll ask.  Why?)  Pay not to produce but if someone does produce, make sure they don’t lose their ass at market by, um, ah, subsidizing.  This flies in the face of supply and demand.  Well, get government involved…   Low interest rates. (Um, is that the government again?) Commodity prices (go figure) representing windfalls.  So, there’s a rush to buy land to farm which is driving land prices up. When it gets really tough, corporations with big money will be the big investors.  Deserved or not, corporate “farmers” have less than sterling reputations – for quality, earth-stewardship, and consumer-interests. Anybody see a “win” here?

I’ll be happy though, if I drive through the Midwest and see million-dollar homes built on prime farmland razed to plant wheat and corn, and soybeans. Fitting turn-about.

Near Earth Space

Earth is safe from Apophis for at least another one-hundred years.  I dunno about you but I’m running around with a whole lot of “Whew!”  Think about it.  Named after a deity so evil it goes up against Ra.  That’s wholesale bad juju. Lemme see, in a hundred years, I’ll be, oh, never mind.

Beaches on the Mediterranean

Lebanon.  Oil spill cleanup. Have we been here before?

NYC Happy Happy Happy

Or should be.  Legalize recreational Mary Jane?  Why not?  Alcohol is legal.  That’s worked out pretty good, huh?

Good Old Violence

The US sadly has no monopoly.  Myanmar. Bangladesh. Vancouver. Indonesia. California. Bristol, UK. Tigray, Ethiopia. (Oh. No. Wait. I’ll ask… Yes. Sorry.  California is still part of the US.)

I’m gonna take a pill and lie down.

Pay the Piper – March 27, 2021

See? I’m recycling my old images.

“Had enough yet?” asked Mother Nature.

“Yeah.  I think I’m gonna move,” I replied.

“You’ve been talking about moving forever.”

“I’ve not been around ‘forever.’”

“No, indeed you have not.  That’s hyperbole for effect.”

“You don’t need hyperbole.”

“How’s that?”

“Winter sleet.  Snow pellets.  Freeze-thaw. More snow. More freeze-thaw.”

“Freeze thaw.  That was a nice touch, don’t you think?”

“Uncalled for.  Had us on our knees with the snow and ice.”

“Flexing my muscle.  Irony.”

“Sarcasm, I think.  Not necessary. Do you have any idea what this has cost me?”

“Can you wrap your tiny little brain around what you’ve cost me?”

“You’ll recover.  You always do.”

“That’s what I’m doing now.”

“What?”

“Recovering.”

“With a vengeance!”

“Otherwise, you’d just ignore me.”

“And the stress!”

“You think I’m immune to stress?”

“All of this is a bit much. Enough is enough!”

“You push. You shove.  I push and shove back.”

“I’m moving to Florida.”

“Hurricane season’s gonna be a beaut this year.  Don’t even think about Texas or Louisiana.”

“Alaska, then.”

“Wait until you see the new ice-age.”

“West coast. Or east of the Rockies…”

“Stay away from Yellowstone.”

“Why”

“Time to stretch the old muscle.  I’m due! You call it that ‘supervolcano’ thing.”

“No?”

“Make book on it.” 

“When?”

“Up in the air right now.  That’s a bit of a chuckle.”

“What?”

“Up in the air. You ain’t seen nothin yet.”

“But here?”

“Workin on it.”

“Enough already, don’t you think?”

“You wanna dance, you gotta pay the piper.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Carbon emissions, pollution, methane farts, strip mining. Deforestation. Just for starters.  Comes at a price.”

“Never bothered before.”

“Well, you said it.”

“What?”

“Enough is enough.”

“Right. You’ve beat us pretty good with the tornadoes.  Maybe we’re due some quiet time. I should just stay here.”

“Wait until you see this afternoon.”

“What have you got planned?”

“Gonna be a surprise!”

As I poke this out, She’s at it again.  Has been since a little after 3 am.  Point of reference, it’s 8 am now.  Nice for the lawn.  To a point.  Grass, luxuriant though it may be, gets so long, it lays down on itself, gets matted, and ultimately suffocates. Or drowns.  Can’t get on it in time to keep it trimmed to a safe length.  Those of us who do our own lawn work are out at every break in rain.  The commercial folk don’t care.  They’ve got humongous machines that suck blades upright before shearing them off.  Problem is, they leave big mounds of clippings which in this weather quickly kill the live grass beneath.

The old man-machine, across the street kattywhumpus, Mel, was over yesterday afternoon while I was stripping-up old lawn brick.  He was inspecting the exterior of the house the snowbird lives in.  Snowbird is in Florida right now.  Missed the big to-do.  Alarms went off last night during the big storm.  Snowbird called Mel.

“Did you tell Mr. Florida we had one hellova storm last night?”

“Mentioned it.”

“Tell him we had hail?”

“We did?”

“Sure did.”

 “Any size to it?”

“Almost golf ball size.  Beat the hell outta the windows.”

“That’d set off the alarms.”

“Break windows too, if it the winds were right.”

“Guess I’ll have another look.”

“Mel?”

“Yunh?”

“You talk to Florida, tell him he can run but he can’t hide.”

“Why’s that?”

“I have it on good authority.  June soon.  Hurricanes.”

“I’ll remind him.”

Still gonna look for another barn to dance in.

Tomato Warnings – March 26, 2021

Tomato, tornado.

A little back story

More than ten years ago lightning struck our house.  Not much to speak of if you’re one with a wild imagination.  The house shook from the boom, but we’d heard more ferocious thunder in the past.  There was the briefest intense flash but not blinding in intensity. Meh. So what?

That was an afternoon of intense storms none of which the Whether1 Bureau had predicted accurately.  Human beings essentially gumballs, folks were all on their front porches watching the storm move through. This gumball was on his back deck, a higher, better vantage point, looking out across building sites yet empty, a prairie so to speak.  A young neighbor across the street hollered over at me when I came out my front door after I’d determined I’d seen all I wanted to see from my back deck.

“You okay over there?”

“Sure. Some storm, eh?”

“I’ll say!  I just saw lightning hit your house!”

“Nah?!”

“Yeah!  Walked the ridge, one side to the other.  I was coming over to check on you!”

I never believed him.  That he was coming over, yes.  His wife woulda killed him had he not. But at first, the ridge-walk was unbelievable. Had lightning ‘walked the ridge,’ it would have done more damage than it did and scorched more than a few shingles.

Looking back, probably forgetting a few items, it came to this: took out my sprinkler system controller.  Boogered both garage door openers.  Crippled my air conditioner.  Fried two computers. Cooked my receiver, amp, CD, VCR, turntable, all the speakers, and the big screen television that was still pretty much virgin.  Of course, it set every digital clock back to 12:00, some of which never recovered.  In the space of a few years, my ovens, microwave, and refrigerators pooped-out, I suspect because their circuitry was compromised by the strike.  I’ve got a wine cooler that still takes a hike on occasion, forgetting it’s set at fifty-two degrees, turning itself into a mini freezer.

More back story

I’ve been a storm watcher as long as I can remember.  Of course, prime observation days were back when I was stoopid, single, invincible, and in the service in Oklahoma, a great place to observe severe weather.  I recall watching mammatus, insanely evil green, I kid you not, rolling in so low you could reach up and grab a handful. Standing on an iron exterior staircase for a better vantage-point with lightning all around taking potshots at anything tall, isolated, and metallic. Air smelled ozone-funny.  Hair on your neck stood on end. Animals all disappeared, dunno where, just gone.

But that was when I was invincible.  Something changed.  Sometime.  Somewhere.  Not that I’m afeered of dying, just that all the same to you, brother, I don’t see any good arguments for hurrying things along. Not that I’ll go along peaceably when the time comes.  But neither will I argue with the Reaper.  Bones2 and I, both of that age and that time no one speaks much of anymore, were fond of telling each other we were running on someone else’s ticket, ours surely had been called for punch-out long before then.

Last night was interesting

Around eight pm, I was contemplating a post for today, to be poked into the standard-size keyboard and scheduled for WP to pop-loose around ten3 pm.  Do that to early-morning greet my friends in Great Britain. My cell went nutzo.  We get the “Amber Alerts4.”  When the doobers come at three am, it scares the living mumbo-jumbo out of you.  Try to sleep after that!

Last night was not an “Amber Alert.”  Tornado Warning. Not a “watch.”  A “warning.”  A “watch” says conditions are ripe for tornadoes – be on your toes and ready to take shelter.  A “warning” is all done messing around. It says, “No foolin, kiddies, a tornado is confirmed in your area and headed your way, don’t think about taking shelter, do it!

You have to understand our house here.  There is no basement.  There is a “crawl space.”  Once inside the crawl space there is a remote corner simply perfect for surviving a tornado – low, isolated, and with concrete sufficient and underground to survive the whole house being ripped-up and dropped back down near where it started.

Getting into the crawl space is a trip.  I do it regularly, inspecting pipes and such.  It is not convenient.  It is not a place for the first twenty feet for anyone who suffers claustrophobia.  I am not about to suggest the Boss crawl behind me into the crawl space.  So we’ve an alternate in the garage, a space with concrete block and low enough it should be survivable. 

With the music of the tornado warning softly playing in the background, syncopated by lightning flashes and monstrous booms of thunder, the Boss and I secured what we could inside, unplugged and isolated electronics, grabbed a flashlight, and retreated to our almost safe place. Boss was cool. Sat there eating a bowl of ice cream.

The Weather Bureau advised we’d be under the warning until 8:46.  In that respect, a warning is easier to handle than a watch.  A watch is usually two or three hours long while the Weather Bureau tries to sort it all out or until the radar announces the J-hook patterns turning a watch into a warning.  A warning usually lasts about fifteen, maybe thirty minutes, depending on the speed, direction, and intensity of the storm’s movement.

Oh, in this day and age, WB your cell.  The storm track will pop-up on screen courtesy of the Weather Bureau and courtesy of your phone’s GPS there will be a puny little marker that lets you know where, exactly, in all this nastiness you are.  Ugly when you’re in the red zone.

As you surmise, we survived.  Not without anxious moments.

Only thing more unnerving than last night are those times you are mindlessly working in the yard on a summer Saturday around one pm.   Say, on your knees weeding a flower bed.  About three miles south is a CD5 tornado alert siren.  Another is less than two miles north.  They are fierce instruments.  They do as they were designed. They get your attention.

Forgetting once a month, spring to fall, on Saturdays, they test these sirens, you get caught off guard on your knees weeding the garden when the &*^% things fire-off.  In the microseconds it takes you to put all the pieces together, figuring-out the test, you are left with only one thing left to do when the sirens end.

Go inside and change britches.

Anyway

When it had all passed last night, I wasn’t much in the mood to sit down to fiddle with WP.

1 Whether Bureau.  As recently as twenty, fifteen, or even ten years ago, talk of the Weather Bureau was accompanied by chuckles and snide remarks.  Such as whatever the WB called for, whether or not their predictions would be even close to what happened.  Hence “Whether Bureau.”  I’m going to be the first to admit that in recent years, or perhaps in failing memory as my odometer rolls perilously to the million-mile mark, the WB’s accuracy approaches unbelievable in the way of improvement.  “People in the area of Gasper’s Junction can expect the rain to reach them by 8:13 pm with winds of 26 miles per hour, gusting to 43 and approximately 0.356 inches of rain.” They are getting scary-accurate.

2 Bones got his nickname long before Star Trek and Doctor McCoy.  Sadly, Bones is no longer with us. He’s likely wondering what the hell is taking me so long.

3 Ten pm.  I do sleep and like to hit the sheets as soon after nine pm as possible.  Long ago, I’ve scheduled posts to release after the witching-hour on the date of the post. WP sees me not paying attention and refuses to release a post now and again.  The less attention I pay, the more WP is apt to be remiss.  Went on vacation once with five posts scheduled.  When I got to a reliable connection, none of the scheduled posts had released.  WP, I suspect, was laughing it’s head off.  So.  I compromise, now releasing as late the day before as I figure to be wandering the house pre-evening nap.  If WP gets cranky, I can go release manually.  So much for automation.

4 Amber alerts are text messages sent to cell subscribers when a child is abducted, usually with the description and plate number of the automobile used in the abduction. Can’t cite effectiveness. But it must work, or they’d not continue to do it.   Tempted to suggest this is admirable.  Thinking of the number of times abductions are estranged parents, and the evil things parents do to one another when they stop working in pairs.  You work it out for yourself.

5 CD Civil Defense.  That was olden days.  I’m “olden days,” so that’s how I think and talk. Now, they probably call it FEMA or something equally mind-boggling.

Casual Repartee – March 25, 2021

Innuendo.

“You’re staring.”

“Oh.  Sorry, Ma’am.”

“Some men!”

“Some women.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“No offense. Some women just have a natural appeal.  Classic beauty.”

“Is that supposed to be flattery?”

“No.”

“What is it then?”

“Not supposed to be flattery.  It is flattery.  You are a beautiful woman.  You should be used to hearing it.  Used to the stares.”

“Thank you. I guess.”

“A woman should hear it often.  That they’re beautiful, I mean. Even if they know it.”

“Oh.”

“And I suspect you know it.”

“Leches don’t normally sling compliments.  They just leer.”

“Oh. Sorry again.  My cue to leave.”

“I didn’t mean you were a lech.”

“Sounded like it.  Suspect you’re not confident with who you are.”

“What?”

“That’s wrong.  I mean you’re confident but looking for confirmation.  Watching who watches you.”

“Recognizing a man is staring?”

“Yes. There are leches. Then there are men who appreciate.”

“Appreciate?”

“Like me.  Appreciate a beautiful woman.”

“I’m beautiful?”

“Already said that.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well.  Been sawed in half once already. I’ll be careful.”

“Good idea.”

“Striking face.  Poise.  Dress well, even casually.  Good um…”

“Good Bones?”

“You giggled.”

“I did.  You’re embarrassed.  Good bones?”

“More than that.  You know, I am sure.”

“Really?”

“Well, you opened it up.  Undeniably your parts are, um, noticeable.”

“How’s’ that?”

“Men notice you.  Have to.  You answer men’s idea of what a woman should be. Physically.  Right or wrong.”

“No.  I mean I notice, but it’s difficult to know what men think.”

“You’ve not been paying attention.”

“What are men looking for?”

“I don’t believe you asked that.”

“Well?  Your answer?”

“You can have all the physical looks.  Don’t make me elaborate. But then there’s a raw sensuality.  Feminine in all the right ways.”

“You’re starting again.”

“We’ve been talking three minutes now.  By today’s standards, we’re intimate.”

“Today’s standards!”

“Hah!” 

“Hah, what?”

“You giggled again.”

“Yes, I did.  You married?”

“Whoa! Quantum leap!”

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“You married?”

“No.  You?”

“No. Got time for a cup of coffee?”

“You buying?”

“You have crust, Mister, I’ll give you that.”

“That mean you’re not gonna buy coffee?”

“Okay.  I’ll buy. You have some explaining to do.”

“Do my best.” 

“There’s a shop on the corner.”

“We sit down or take out?”

“You safe?  I mean you know…”

“Presumptuous, don’t you think?”

“No.  Not that.  I mean…”

“Oh.  The pandemic.”

“Yeah.  Odd, it takes precedence.”

“Yeah. Had my shots.”

“And the other?”

“What?”

“The other…”

“Oh, that is presumptuous!”

“Can’t be too careful.”

“It’s just coffee.”

“Yeah. But I like your crust.”

Couple of century shorts. Now a bit longer.  Two, maybe three weeks, I should have you trained to not shy away at five hundred words.  Then a thousand.  Then an online novella.  Stick with me, kid.

One Other Thing – March 24, 2021

Good neighbors work things out…

“Appreciate you not working on your racecar evenings, Stan.”

“Well, Bob, lose track of time. Didn’t mean to keep anyone awake.”

“You’re pretty good neighbors.”

“We try.”

“You and your missus don’t yell at each other much lately either.”

“Take it inside now.  Easier if she starts throwing things.”

“What?”

“She’s accurate.  I bleed easy.”

“Oh. Anything we can do for you?”

“Well, found a little pile in the yard.  Mowing. Almost stepped in it.”

“I’ll talk to little Timmy.”

“Eh?  Well, thanks.”

“Anything else?”

“One other thing.”

“Shoot.”

“How come I never see the dog?”

“Don’t have one, Stan.”

End of an Era – March 21, 2021

Well, things change. I guess that’s to be expected.

Working to repair damages from the freakish winter storm here, I thought at Casa Spwilcen, we’d been smacked more than others.  Turns out that was not the case. 

My first clue to the extent of damages was when I noticed the flood of panel trucks, pickup trucks, and tradesman’s trailers the week of the event.  Since then, it’s been a steady flow.

Plumbing, drywall, stonework, roofing, windows, and even tree work. Some others too, but I’m keying this at the end of my first full day out hacking away at what I can handle here myself.  And for that work, I’m bushed, so I’m not really focused on detail at the moment. 

Here, drywall repair is almost done, and the front step brick work is finished so the steps are no longer a hazard.  Waiting on a handyman to reassess the gutters.  Know for a fact one end cap was popped-loose by ice.  After sixteen years the gutters need some resealing.  Two more surrounds to have stone reset.  Then it’ll just be normal yardwork with added primps and make-pretties for the possibility of putting the place on the market.

Out today doing a lot of that yardwork – a challenge when you’ve not done serious work (save shoveling snow) since last fall – I got to chat with one or two of the neighbors.  Chatting because it was a lovely day and a good excuse to take a break. For the rain lately, getting onto the mowing was delayed beyond normal so grass was tall and breaks frequent for the lawn mower and for this old dewd.

Many folks had leaks caused by ice jams which damaged walls, ceilings, and flooring.  One music man suffered some serious damage to his in-home studio.  Not in this subdivision but down the road a piece, many folks had steps damaged by the ice and freeze-thaw cycles.

We’re working through it.  All of us.

About that tall grass in lawns.  Nice looking in a horse pasture kind of way, but a little unkempt considering none of our yards here are horse pastures.  And not dry enough yet for easy cutting.

Yesterday, I looked across the street.  You know only a few of us here mow our own yards.  Most hire it out.  Landscape crewmen (and one or two crewladies) attack the yards with industrial mowers.  Zip, zap, zop – done!  Oddly, those of us who do mow ourselves are (ahem!) older gents.  Youngsters apparently have no time for it (which allows me to call “bullshit!” – they’re just lazy).

Anyway, across the street, Mel had a crew in his yard.  Industrial mowers and trimmers.  They do they job but not owning the places they tend, don’t hit the finer points.  Mel has a few years on me and always kept his place looking ship-shape.  Now he has a crew doing his yard work. Mel says it’s his ticker.  Who next?

Guess when our mowing schedules land on the same day now, Mel won’t be across the street behind his mower, too. 

It’s the end of an era.