Tinder

You, like most everyone, have attended a work meeting or a party. It’s easy to say one is more entertaining because of the nature of the event, however this isn’t exactly correct.

The differences are in the attendee’s attitudes. There’s a positive spark that makes the flame burn hot and bright at one, while the other, the one perceived as being less fun, is allowed to sputter and fail.

Further, a single negative person can put out that flame simply by being present. You’re a fire-starter in whatever situation you are in, so build, maintain and share your positive attitude.

Sweat House

Eleven, that’s the age Sandy Sanderson invited me to partake in a ‘sweat-house ceremony.’ At first, I wasn’t going to do it, fearful that I was about find myself in a position to have to endure more teasing than I was already going through at the time.

But unlike other times when I felt frightened and uncertain, I asked Sandy, “Why me?”

He smiled, “Because you’re a good kid, on your way to being a good man. And you need this.”

Admittedly, I didn’t fully understand what he was saying, but I heard the compliment, so I was willing to go and see what this ceremony was all about. Saturday morning couldn’t arrive soon enough.

Up at 3:30, I met Sandy out front of our house. I’d never been up that early before; five in the morning to go fishing – yes — but never that early.

Initially, I figured we’d go to the sweat-house overlooking the Klamath River and sit inside it until we began sweating. Wrong; I learned quickly that we sat near a fire, that once it died down, water was poured on the rocks buried among the embers, creating a steam that engulfed us so completely that we couldn’t see each other.

Once the steam evaporated, more wood was added to the fire, to heat the rocks and we’d rush out and jump in the river to cool off. Then the entire process would be repeated.

This is where I first met Merkey Oliver. He wasn’t real happy having a ‘white Man’s child’ on ‘sacred ground.’ Sandy was able to calm his ‘anger’ reminding him that I was an invited guest and that he ought to treat me as such.

It was like ‘day’ from ‘night’ as Merkey agreed, even taking me under his wing encouraging me to hang in long as I could after I started to feel sick from the heat, the humidity and the sweating. “That’s all that white-man’s poison coming out of you, boy,” he stated in his most serious tone.

That was about the time the south bank of the Klamath became visible. By then, the men were chanting and singing and I had no idea what was being said.

When I asked, Sandy told me not to worry about the singing and chanting as they were speaking with ‘their God.’ He told me to make a mental picture of ‘your God,’ in my head and think on that.

I did.

We wrapped up about seven that morning with one more lengthy dip in the Klamath. I swore I would never do it again, but twice more Sandy invited me and twice more I went and enjoyed the sweat-lodge.

Sandy left us in my 13th year, shortly after basketball season started. One of the last things I recall him saying, “Basketball isn’t your thing. Stick to running. It has more meaning.”

(I knew Sandy was right about basketball, I couldn’t even hit the back board with the ball. Running, especially sprinting, on the other hand…)

After his passing, I would learn from Merkey (I had to ask him of course, he would never have volunteered it) why Sandy would think running had meaning. “Someone who runs is usually enlisted as a messenger and can be trusted to deliver the message and to keep it secret.”

How I wish I could return one last time to the place of my youth. I’d walk the old trails, wade in the creek, lay in the grasses of the pasture and the field across from my childhood home and I’d want to visit the sweat house on the Klamath.

Twisted Strand

Writer and blogger, H.R.R. Gorman wrote ‘Designing Assassins,’ in 2014. I’ve taken the liberty to write a 100-word follow-up to this dystopian masterpiece…

—–

Cal’s keyboard chatters, his fingers busy typing. We work on the same project, so he has no reason to be so hard at work.

It was only a few minutes ago that I handed him a vial in secret. Now this.

It’s exactly as I suspected – my best friend, my only friend really — is a killer and has no problem murdering me for Internet points. Perhaps he should have taken his own words to heart, after all he’s the one that told me it was bad idea.

Poor Cal, he hasn’t any notion that the vial actually holds his genomes.

Patriotism Rebounding

Zooming southbound on Pyramid Highway at noon-time, I heard the first subtle strains of the National Anthem come through my truck’s radio. Initially, it surprised me as I was certain I had music station Easy 104.1 (KEUZ, Fallon, Nevada) blasting away and not some sports broadcast.

The sound also left me confused momentarily about what the proper procedure should be while the Star Spangled Banner emanated from my cab speakers. Should I keep driving or should I pull to side of the road, get out, come to attention and salute?

If I were still in the service, the answer would be resounding: “Stop..!” as all activity comes to a halt when it comes to posting or retiring the colors. It still marvels me to see men and women, both uniformed and civilian, driver and passengers, pour from vehicles stopped on the main drag to face the music if they cannot see the flag or the flag if it’s visible.

But I’m a civilian now going on decades and decades and I haven’t heard the National Anthem aired as an ‘element within the programming’ of a radio station since I was a child. Needless to say, the music was exactly that to my ears – and it sent my heart soaring.

So, thank you  Easy 104.1 for returning Northern Nevada and Eastern California’s airwaves back to a more patriotic place in our lives, even if it is for only a few minutes. As they say in the military, “Hand salute!”

By the way — I did safely pull to the side of the road, get out of my truck and place my hand over my heart. It simply felt right at that moment and I’ve never been shy about offering to show how I feel about our nation.

Winged

Thirty-five stories and she had to trudge her way to the top. It was something she didn’t want to do, but had to do.

Carla was on a mission. She had to try out her new wings.

She stood before her reflection in the glass door. They were light, delicate and very nearly invisible.

Carla found the stairway. “But the elevator would be so much quicker,” she complained.

Reaching the top floor, she stated, “I gotta rest a couple of minutes.”

Once out side, she step onto the ledge. New wings or not, Carla had entered the ‘no fly zone.’

Shhh…

We live in a state of constant noise.
Human activity – vehicles, heavy machinery, airplanes, and electronic devices.
The natural world – birds, wind, thunder and insects.
Rarely, do we experience actual quiet.
When we do, we’re compelled to fill it with sound – any sound – as quietness feels awkward in our hustle and bustle world.
An empty house? Turn on the TV.
Driving? Find a station on the radio.
Taking a walk? Grab your earphones and device.
Quiet is a luxury that costs nothing.
Take sometime to simply sit and think, without any background or foreground noise.
Learn to embrace the quiet.

Yakety-Yak

“A meowing cat catches no mice,” goes the Yiddish proverb.

Some days I spend more time talking about what I’d like to do than doing anything at all. Perhaps it’s my need for reassurance that I do this.

Maybe we’re looking for a bit of advice to shore up our desires. But then, you might find it easier to talk than to actually do because, like me, you suck at planning.

So flip the script. Think differently to act differently.

While you may have an idea of what you’d like to do, don’t plan, but act and don’t fear failure.

A Day at Andelin

Following a spate of deaths in my life, it felt good to do something creative and refreshing. Creative because I took my camera with me; refreshing because I’d have the chance to see newly born animals.

To that end I visited the nearby Andelin Family Farm in Spanish Springs, Nevada as they held one of their community events. I thought I’d get there early but even though I was there half-an-hour ahead of opening, I was around two-hundred people in the back of the line. There is also something nostalgic and reassuring about a neatly manicured road, whether it be dirt, gravel or paved. It’s even more nostalgic and reassuring when it’s lined with budding trees.

Andelin Farm is teeming with new Spring life including ducklings, chicks, lambs, and kids…

Watch out for the emu though. As I was photographing one, the other sneaked up on me and bit the back of my left hand.

Honestly, the broken skin and scabs are nothing compared to the force of the bird’s striking capabilities. My palm remains extremely sore.

Worse has happened to me in life, so I’m laughing this off as jus’ another odd thing I can add to my list of strange stuff that’s happened to me.  (Huh? What do you mean you don’t have a list?)

They have a lot to do from horse and pony rides, large and kiddie hay rides, to static-roping, mazes, rocking horses, to real people food and feed for the animals. That was what really made my heart sing — seeing the excitement on the faces of the many youngsters as they interacted with the animals.

So if you grew up around the barn yard but moved away from and miss it, you’ll come away remembering the many wonderful scents from your childhood. It may also be jus’ the thing you need to recharge your sense of purpose in life.

As for me — today I have a deep feeling of renewal in my spirit.

Becoming Change

Advice is free and because of that, it’s usually cheap and in great abundance. The world is full of people with great ideas on how to improve other’s lives and circumstances.

Your ideas can be some good ones, the problem is that not everybody is in a position to listen to them or act upon them. The only person your advice need effect is yourself.

If we spent as much time listening to our own advice as giving it, we could create that better world we’d like to see. We must work on that one thing we can change: ourselves.

Unpacking Before Departure

There’s no ‘spiritual happiness’ in stuff.  Of course, before learning this, we must first know what spiritual happiness is and what it means to us personally.

What’s hard about this is spiritual happiness has a different meaning to each of us.

You may find spiritual happiness in walking along a beach or attending a house of worship. Your neighbor may find it in helping others, through prayer or a cup of coffee. I might find it simply in waking up.

What’s easier understood is ‘stuff,’ which is all the excesses we cannot take with us when we depart this life.

Fred North, 1956-2018

Sometimes there is simply no relief from the pain of life – or more to the point – death. Tuesday night as we lay in bed, me trying to fall asleep, my wife was on her device when she learned that our friend and former next-door neighbor had passed away earlier in the day.

We first met Fred North while looking for a church to attend. He was playing his base-guitar at Living Waters, a church that folded a few years back when our preacher retired.

At first, we figured that we’d never see some of these folks again and for the most part, we were right. One person though, popped up in our lives again; Freddo (I always called him that) purchased the house next door to us.

It was a wonderful surprise. We spent a lot of time traveling back and forth from one front porch to the other and it was amazing how his computer tech business, ‘Doctor Geek,’ took off.

Freddo used to write a blog about his experiences with the business, but stopped posting in 2010. It can still be found here.

Not only did we have Christ in common, but we also had our dogs. He had two, including his favorite, a very old lab retriever named ‘Worf.’

Yes, Fred was major Trekkie fan, having named his dog after Michael Dorn’s character on the Star Trek reboot , “Next Generation.” The dog was nothing like his TV name sake though, as he always had a ‘wag and a lick’ handy for everyone.

After ‘Worf’ died, Freddo changed and his health took a downward turn. In early 2008, he packed up his last remaining puppy-dog pal, ‘Joshie,’ sold his house and move into town.

We didn’t see him very much after that, though we did stay in touch via social media. That’s why I had no idea how ill he’d become — in fact I found out later that he’d been hospitalized after nearly dying once before.

One afternoon, he called me, asking if we could take Joshie for a few days because he was heading home to Battle Mountain, Nevada for a visit and the dog was too old to travel. I jumped at the chance, having him here for three or four days.

The getaway was good for Fred as his health improved, even getting rid of his walker for a while – maybe even permanently — after that trip home. The next time I saw Freddo, he was scootering around downtown Reno on his little red Vespa.

That was last September, during Hot August Night, where he was enjoying his newest hobby, photography. And now I find myself amazed at how quickly things can change in six-months.

Beyond his passing, I also missed the opportunity to stop and see him the day before his death. I was taking some product to my wife’s sandwich shop and drove by his place, telling myself, “When I come back this way, I gotta stop and say ‘hi,’ to Freddo.”

Somehow, I got side tracked and forgot and this has me ‘bummed out,’ as Fred would have said. If he were still here, I’d apologize for having forgot and he’d have said, “No big deal.”

That in a nut-shell was Fred’s mantra – “No big deal.” Laid-back, easy-going, always smiling and friendly — we’re gonna miss that and you too, Freddo.

Tim Dunn, 1951-2018

“Ah, geez. Make it stop!” I wrote to my friend, Elizabeth Rose after she messaged me about Tim’s passing. She responded, “I know, my friend.”

Number eight for 2018, but whose counting. Me.

After trying to write this for a while I realized that I’ve nearly come up short on words as they’re sounding the same. Tim Dunn was not only a good photographer, he really was a nice guy; genuine to the bone.

Tim possessed an innate ability to connect with people whether through his images, insights, humor, or his heart. I worked on a number of stories where I watched him work ‘his magic.’

We first met in 1994, shortly after he started at a local newspaper, while I’d been plugging along as an operator for the regional para-transit system. I’d stopped to help after a bread truck ran up and over a ‘model kit’ car, injuring both the drive and passenger.

Tim was there a minute or two after I began assessing the injured men. I could hear him snapping photos behind me and when it was all over, I asked him if he made certain to get my best side.

He laughed despite the possibly of having heard that line a hundred times before. The next day though, I opened the newspaper and there it was – a photograph of my butt, leaning into the car.

He’d gotten my ‘good side,’ and made certain the world knew it. That was my real introduction into Tim.

But it wasn’t always good times and giggles. In June 2012, Tim was covering a major house when a Washoe County Sheriff deputy told him to clear out and failing to do so fast enough, the deputy shoved Tim to the ground, where his face was left bruised, cut and bloodied.

Deputies maintained that Tim had jeopardized his safety by continuing to approach the burning building, despite instructions to back off.  Charged with obstruction and resisting arrest, it took about a year for them to be dropped.

They also publicly accused him of impersonating a firefighter because he was wearing protective clothing. However, fire gear’s issued to most media outlets in Nevada because of the inherent danger of covering such news stories.

As a news reporter, working for the competition, I happened to be on a number of stories where I had the pleasure of watching Tim work. Somehow, using nothing more than a healthy dose of compassion by connecting with people and treating them with dignity, he was able to document their lives from the heart.

Thank you, Tim for your friendship. I look forward to viewing your Heavenly photo-spread one day, but don’t wait up.

R. Lee Ermey, 1944-2018

UPDATE: R. Lee Ermey will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 10:00 a.m. January 18, 2019.

He had the roughest exterior in nearly every show or movies he ever did, but inside, R. Lee Ermey was a gentle soul. That’s the best way I can describe the man and it hurt’s my heart to know he’s now standing post at the pearly gates of Heaven.

Since his passing over the weekend, everyone’s recalling his performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket.” But for me, I will always remember the first time I saw him on-screen as Staff Sergeant Loyce, in “The Boy’s of Company ‘C.’”

Lee was making a morale-swing through the middle east after coming from Europe, when I got the chance to meet him. Not many Grunts knew who he was and some were grumbling , “Fucking Hollywood-type, thinks he’s a Marine.”

Well this ‘Holly-weird,’ type (Lee’s word’s, not mine) was a real Marine, in the ‘Suck’ while the majority of us so-called ‘hard-asses’ were still wet-behind-the-ear pukes. It wouldn’t be until 1987 and the movie ‘FMJ,’ that his place in Marine lore would be cemented.

But in 1982, a few of us did recognize him and that left him ‘tickled.’ Later, I’d learn he felt personally wounded by the negative comments.

One early morning in 1999, the station’s hot-line rang and this ragged-ass voice starts in on me, half-growling, half-barking and all Marine rapid-fire, “What in the fucking name of Chesty Puller, do you think you’re doing? What’s your major malfunction, Shithead? You’re the lowest form of life on earth. You’re not even a fucking human being! In fact Darby, you’re nothing more than a grabastic piece of amphibian shit! You better unfuck yourself or I will unscrew your head and shit down your neck. Do I make myself clear?”

After a lengthy pause, he added in the friendliest-tone ever, “How ya doing, Sarge.”

He had a way with words – include the dialogue above — which he ad libbed in ‘FMJ,’ and later used on me as a joke. Man, how I wish I had recorded that spiel, because it was classic, but I didn’t, because it was the ‘hot-line.’

By then I was sputtering and spitting, gearing up to challenge whatever SOB it was, who had the balls to call me via an internal phone line and go-off on me like this. Then he started laughing and I realized it was set-up and that Lee was pranking me.

He and his ‘handler,’ as he put it, were sitting out behind the radio station waiting to make a guest appearance on the morning show. I told him to, “Get your asses down here in front of the building where I can let you in. Magot juice (coffee) is on!”

You didn’t have to ask me twice to stick around throughout the morning so I could be a part of the show and laugh it up with the crew and Lee. A very memorable four-hours for me.

The last time I spoke to him was around 2008 when he made an appearance with a well-known conservative radio talk-show host. I was ‘big man on campus,’ that day because I knew ‘the man,’ and graciously Lee came off as if we were the oldest and toughest of all effing Marines and the best friends God had ever paired up.

Thank you, Lee for making me feel like I belonged. You are, in my humble opinion, the epitome of what a Marine is both on the field of combat and in the arena of civility.

Rest easy, Gunny. Ooh-rah and Semper fidelis, Lee.

Art Bell, 1945-2018

It’s interesting the people we get to know when we’re not trying. That’s exactly how it was with Art Bell, who passed away at his Pahrump home in Nye County, Nevada on Friday the 13th (he’d have enjoyed the irony) and with whom I had the pleasure of being acquainted.

Interestingly, it happened while I wasn’t doing radio – I was working for a newspaper and Art was visiting a local radio station that carried his show, “Coast to Coast AM.” Invited to interview him for the paper, the man practically interviewed me instead.

Ever the entertainer and formidable conversationalist, Art had me laughing as I tried to take notes without a lot of success. He literally was ‘the most interesting man in the world,’ not to take anything away from Dos Equis beer or Jonathan Goldsmith.

Unfortunately, the story I’d written never got published as I was fired before the article’s deadline. And it was ignorant of me to chuck my notes.

So, here’s sort of an update:

He was the founder and the original host of the radio program ‘Coast to Coast AM’ as well as its companion show ‘Dreamland.’ Art took on semi-retirement in 2003, but couldn’t stay away from broadcasting, continuing to host on the weekends.

He finally announced his retirement from weekend hosting in July 2007, though he did guest host from time to time through 2010. I know this because by then I was a news reporter and announcer at the radio station carrying his program.

“This time, it’s for real,” he said, adding that the reason for his retirement was to spend more time with his new wife and newborn daughter. From June to December 2006, he lived in the Philippines, (coming back every so often on business) but returning there in March 2009, because he couldn’t get a U.S. visa for his wife.

Art told me at the time of our sit-down that radio broadcasting was ‘an addiction,’ and so I wasn’t surprised when he returned the airwaves in July 2015, with a new show, “Midnight in the Desert.” He eventually retired from that show in December of the same year because of security concerns.

People were trespassing and taking pot-shots at his home. “I’m not only tired of the harassment, I’m frightened for my family,” he told me in January 2016, during our last conversation, adding, “I believe whoever’s doing this, wants me off the air permanently.”

Over the years, Art pointed out that he was born on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I’d been stationed; that he shared the same birth date of June 17th with my son; he returned to the air with a new on July 20th, my birth date; and the we were both inductees of the Nevada Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame. Art had a way of drawing lines through people’s lives that intersected with his, thus making us feel special, if not important.

God-speed, Art, from somewhere beyond “The Land of Nye.”

Pete Meyer, 1950-2018

There’s little worse than waking up to learn that someone you’ve known for more than half your life is suddenly gone. That’s what happened on April 4th, when I found out my friend Pete Meyer had passed away.

What a nasty punch in the gut, followed by an inability to breath for a few seconds and a sense of panic. Panic!

Sitting back and thinking about him, I wish I had asked more questions about his life growing up, how he got into radio, his thoughts and beliefs. But here’s the thing about Pete – he was a ‘at this moment’ sort of fellow – no future and no past, jus’ ‘now.’

When I first met Pete, I was a ‘wet behind the ears’ radio wanna-be. He set me straight one afternoon, as I sat in on his program (then on KATA in Arcata,) telling me that there are no real rules to radio other than being yourself and ‘never saying no to a gig, unless you were ready to suffer the consequences.’

As for ‘being myself,’ he let me know that if I continued in the radio biz, there would be a bunch of people who’d try to make me ‘be myself.’ “Listen, but don’t let’em,” he advised.

“‘Being yourself,’ is a journey you have to take BY yourself,” Pete added. “And it’s very rare that anybody gets to know their real selves until they drop the pretenses of being perfect. Know what I mean?”

Vigorously, I nodded my head, though in all honesty, I had no frigging idea what in the hell he was even talking about. I was into the mechanics of the job, the format, the music, the girls – everything but what he was telling me.

But at least I listened – I heard what he was saying and remembered it. Pete was right!

And while I still wish I’d spent more time asking him about his personal life (perhaps the journalist in me,) I know he was real all the time, from the on-air stories to the humor to his hard work. And those are qualities that cannot be taught.

Pete, you’ll be severely missed on this side of life’s curtain. And don’t worry, for the moment, we’re all still breathing.

Dark and Stormy

“Never begin a story with, ‘It was a dark and stormy night…'” the teacher instructed. She was talking about the often-mocked and parodied opening sentence written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton from his 1830 novel ‘Paul Clifford.’

The student raised his hand and quietly waited to be called on before asking, “But what if it was a dark and stormy night?”

That student spent the rest of that period sitting in his desk, facing a blank corner. Now a professional writer, he has never started a story with, “It was a dark and stormy night…”

But secretly — he’s always wanted too.

Flash in the Pan

The photographer led the willowy politician down the hall to a darkened room holding only a table, two books and a column. He placed the man’s hand atop the volumes in a casual pose, having him look into the camera instead of away.

Standing behind a three-legged contraption, the photographer flung a black sheet over his head and leaned forward. In his right hand he held a flat pan on a stick.

The politician stood still, breath held. Suddenly, the pan flashed brightly, billowing acrid smoke into the air.

The future President was nearly blinded and almost choked to death.

OMG

When the name of God is used, it must be done so on an individual basis. While some do not believe in God, for others their personal understanding of God is specific or it is very general.

God either simply does not exist; is an unseen entity without personal interaction; or God is the Creator, whose desire is a personal relationship with you, His creation. Whatever understanding you may have, know that we each live a spirit-filled life, but not a religious life.

So it’s okay to seek conscious contact with God as you understand God or to remain passive.

Lani Crockett, 1956-2018

Yet another friend has passed away and I find myself, sitting quietly, in a numbed state of mind. Double-tough and yet double-tender, Lani Crockett died on March 16, 2018.

She graduated from Del Norte High School in 1974, receiving her degree (I think in ‘Women’s Studies,’) from Humboldt State University in Arcata, finding employment as a social worker at the Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services. Lani was there for about 12 or 13 years before her passing.

But what I remember about her best is her working as a bartender at Rowland’s Restaurant in Crescent City. My brother, Adam worked in the kitchen for Pete Kaufman at the time and so I’d go in and sit at the bar while waiting for him to finish up.

Lani often talked about horses as she loved riding and chasing the ‘south bound end of north bound’ cattle across the Smith River. I’ve often thought her excitement must have been contagious as I eventually moved to Northern Nevada and took up ‘cowboying’ to make ends meet.

A warm glow falls over me and tears fill my eyes as I think about Lani and that oh-so-lonely period in my life. Yeah, I had a bit of crush on her back then (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one though) and I’ll always remember her vibrant laughter, sweet smile and kind words — forever.

Size Does Not Matter

Between what’s ‘good’ and what’s ‘great,’ there’s a vast difference being overlooked. Often they’re lumped in with the likes of ‘high, higher, highest.’

But if closely examined, the distinction can be seen right away. The United States is a great nation, but then so is China, Russia and France, to select a few in the recent news. But more importantly, the U.S., with its historical warts and all, is a good nation.

A nation’s goodness isn’t necessarily measured by its size, its military strength or even its past mistakes, but by the fact it’s a positive force in the world.

The Games Afoot

“There appears to be an altering of our reality taking place,” the tall lanky man standing at the window stated.

“What do you mean?” his shorter, heavier friend asked.

The first man turned slightly, “Come. See for yourself.”

The second man at the window agreed, “But what is that running along Baker, Holmes?”

“It appears to be a ‘Scarecrow,’” he answered. “Quick Watson, the games afoot and don’t forget your Bulldog!”

The two rushed from the flat and into the nearly silent street. By then the figure had disappeared, but it didn’t deter them from heading in the same direction.

The ‘Scarecrow’ ran far enough ahead as to stay in sight, but not close enough as to get caught. Holmes had deduced from this that the person – if indeed that’s what it was – wanted them to follow, but he didn’t know where.

Outside of London, the pair raced along a footpath and down a hill and back over another hill only to come to the entrance of a large tunnel. Knowing every inch of London and it’s rural out-layings, Holmes knew the tunnel, which was more like a cave, had never existed before.

He paused and using his keen sense of detection, looked the gaping wound in the earth over. Unable to assess whether it was safe or not, he rushed head long into it’s darkness with Watson close on his heel.

Once inside, Watson commented, “I don’t think we’re in London anymore.”

“Quite right, my dear Doctor.”

From out of the blackness a figure could be seen moving. Both the detective and doctor saw it and gave chase.

Without proper torches, neither man could see well enough to make out details of the figure they were following. Without warning, they heard a scuffle, punching, kicking and then silence.

Then the cave came to life with bright lights and a sophistication that the two 19th century men had never seen before. The cave opened up into a cavern that held not only a laboratory, a bank of machines that clicked-and-whirred, but items that men only dreamed of including a black massive and powerful looking horseless carriage.

“Are you looking for him, Mr. Holmes?” came a booming voice, instilling fear and filled with confidence.

Surprised, both men turned to see a man dressed all in black, with a cape and cowling. Behind was the unconscious body of the ‘Scarecrow’ they’d been chasing, being unceremoniously dragged by one leg.

“Gentlemen,” he said in a gravelly whisper, “I’m the Batman. Welcome to my not so-secret anymore Bat Cave.”

“Thank you, Mr. Batman,” Holmes replied. “Put the Bulldog away, Dr. Watson. He’s more friend than foe despite his appearence”

“Doctor, eh?” Batman asked. “Meet Dr. Jonathan Crane.” The Batman rolled the limp body before his two uninvited guests.

“How is it you know this ‘Scarecrow’ fellow?’” Watson wanted to know.

“After he received his brain from the Almighty Oz “the Batman replied, “The ‘Scarecrow’ realized he could live the life of comfort by stealing the one item everyone in Wonderland held dear – a pair of red ruby slippers.”

“Wonderland? Ruby slippers?” Holmes questioned in quiet susurration.

“Yes,” the Batman said, “And once he had them, he began his one man crime spree, spreading terror by altering reality within whatever reality he happened to be in at the time. And thus, gentlemen, here we stand.”

Off in the distance came the gentle groan of an electric motor. Soon, Alfred stepped from the service lift, “Ahem, Master Bruce, now that I see that you’ve all met, tea is served.”

“Thank you, Alfred. Please join me,” he commanded the other two men more than asked. The fine bone china quietly chattered as Alfred placed the serving set on a nearby counter.

Slowly, Sherlock batted his eyes as he awakened from what he assumed was a drug induced coma. John, his medical doctor and colleague, stood slightly bent over him, with a look of great concern, “You gave me quite the start old man. Best you lay off the cocaine, or was it the heroin this time?”

Trashed

“How did I end up with so much stuff?” That question is usually followed up with: “…and I don’t use any of it.”

Harder still is the idea of getting rid of anything, fearful it may be needed at a later time. More stuff also means more maintenance.

Then there’s the fact that none of it produces happiness and we can all use more ‘happy’ in our lives. Best to count your blessings, than wishing for more, and a cluttered life.

In the end, it’s not the person who has too little that’s poor, but the one wanting it all.

In Passing

Over the last few weeks, I’ve suffered the loss of many friends. When I say ‘suffered,’ I’m saying they’ve passed away, leaving the rest of us to carry on.

It’s a fact that none of us are going to get off this rock alive, which means our earthly bodies will eventually fail, leaving our soul and spirit with out a vessel in which to contain our life-force. In many ways that’s what scares us – or perhaps only me – that process of ‘transference,’ from one plane to the next.

At moments like these, grieving is our only resource and it’s okay.

Cold Romance

My husband got out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom, when…FLASH. As I started to get up to check on him, he crawled back under the covers, where I snuggled up next to his chilled body.

“What was that bright light?” No answer.

Instead he excitedly climbed on me and spreading my legs, I let him in. We hadn’t been passionate in a while, so I enjoyed the sensation as I climaxed.

Finished, he rolled off me and headed towards the kitchen. Annoyed, I got up to go pee, where I surprised my husband, still sitting on the toilet.

After Glow

“He is twice warmed who cuts his own wood,” goes the old saw.

Our foods seem to taste better when we’ve done the preparation, our home more enjoyable when we’ve clean it ourselves, and our yard brighter once we’ve finished pulling weeds and raking the grass. That’s because it’s satisfying to do things for yourself when you are able.

Self-reliance is boost to the ego, no matter how little or how much you have. It reminds you that you’re capable and useful.

Your rule-of-thumb should be “Each day I’ll leave my bed with determination to return to it with satisfaction.”

Circling

Everyone feels a sense of hopelessness from time to time. It’s natural.

But no one should ever lose all hope. Without hope, failure becomes our only option.

And remaining in a hopeless state of being becomes our downfall. Instead of action, we’ll wait for what we believed to be inevitable outcome and then the only thing we’ll know is that we didn’t try.

And because you didn’t act, you’ll never change your situation, good or bad, and that too, is a miserable feeling. A vicious cycle.

Remember, hope costs nothing, but a lack of all hope will cost you everything.

When Jesus and the Easter Bunny Met

Jesus was walking through the woods one morning, shortly after returning from Heaven. He needed to take a shit, but couldn’t find a place.

Finally, unable to hold it any more, he grabbed a few leaves and squatted behind a fallen log. Much to his surprise, he discovered the Easter Bunny doing the same thing.

The bunny finished first and started on his way when Jesus asked him, “Do you mind if your fur gets dirty?”

“Not really,” the rabbit answered.

“Great,” Jesus replied as he grabbed the bunny by the ears and proceeded to wipe his ass with him.