Today, I sat in silence and imagined a world in
which Cupid, rather than firing tiny arrows of love in our direction, flings
handfuls of poo at us.And then I
thought: Hey…wait a minute…that is this world!
Giving notable exception to Kanye West and Jennifer
Lopez, most of us tend to be our own worst critics.This is especially true of women in regard to
their physical appearance, particularly their facial features.Today, I am posting a brief video that
reveals, in a measurable fashion, how our own perceptions may alter how others
see us.An extended video of the same
study is also available for viewing.
Posted today is a photograph I took of my daughter as
she stood looking out at the Pacific Ocean from the California Coast in
2005.The dark cypress seems ever
windblown and the sun glares a bit too brightly.
My daughter married in the nearby Carmel Valley
three years after I captured this photograph.The day before the wedding, I drove my wife and the man my daughter
married down to Carmel from Alameda.Gary, my daughter’s soon-to-be husband, was quite ill at the time with
the cancer that would ultimately take his life only six months after their wedding
in the spring green valley.
Glass ice is fairly uncommon.Sometimes, this kind of ice is called black
ice or congelation ice.The ice I am
talking about is crystal clear.This
year, a layer of glass ice formed on a few lakes in western Montana.This type of ice will form only during ideal
conditions of perfectly calm cold weather.
Glass ice often appears to be quite thin due to the
lack of air bubbles or other such inclusions to give some indication of
depth.Today, I am posting an
ice-skating video made on Vann Lake.The
ice is about five inches in depth.Five
inches of ice is generally considered thick enough to support an ATV or
Truth, in the eyes of a painter named Francois
Lemoyne, was not George Washington admitting that he chopped down the apple
tree.In the eyes of Francois Lemoyne,
truth was a startlingly white and slightly chubby woman with no clothes
on.Mind you, truth was not the nasty, all-sprawled-out
type of naked girl.Truth was the coy
and shrinking away sort of naked.
I once wrote in a poem that “truth is finicky.”I meant, of course, that truth may at times
be a moving target. I must tell you,
that barely begins to define what I discovered when I drifted over to Wikipedia
to read about truth.Apparently, way
back when humans were still roasting squirrels for dinner on sharpened sticks,
the ever-present philosophers adopted truth as a favored subject of study and
As a side note, I would like to mention that philosophers
have cleverly devised a way to make a living at universities by not agreeing
about anything.They call this “reasoned
debate.” I am not certain of the exact manner in which
they connected a paycheck to argument, but I am very proud of them for doing so
I wish I had done that.
Over the years, philosophers have made a substantial
mess out of truth.In order to track
their disorder, philosophers have created an array of truth “theories” to which
various camps subscribe.Some of the
theories are termed “Substantive theories.”Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, espoused to subordinate theory
now called “Correspondence” theory.In
this theory, you can assign truth to real stuff, as example a garden rake.To illustrate, I might hold forth a rake and
proffer the statement: “In truth, this is a garden rake.”If I am actually holding a garden rake as I
make the pronouncement—this is then a knowable truth and you may put me to work
in your corn patch.If, contrarily, I am
holding a banana and I espouse that it is a rake, you may check to see if my
eyes are dilated and then send me a paycheck in care the Philosophy Department
at Hegman University.
More recent theories about truth often fit into the
“Minimalist,” sometimes called “Deflationary,” category.These theories are often difficult to
decipher.A great deal of study may be
required.As I read through the
information provided on Wikipedia relative to deflationary reasoning on truth,
I rather got the impression that truth was meaningless in this realm of
perception.I stopped reading about
truth when I reached the following sentence written under the “Redundancy”
the assertion that “Snow is white is true” is equivalent to asserting that
“snow is white.”
That stopped me cold in my tracks.I thought and thought and thought.The statement made so much sense it did not
make any sense at all.I decided right
then and there that I need a new way to make a living.
One other thing:I actually think truth is cute enough and I would like to sleep with her.
On this, the eve of Christmas, I am posting one of
my favorite Christmas songs.The song
was written in the mid-1970s by Greg
Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and King Crimson fame.Though the song is sometimes misinterpreted as
being anti-Christmas, Greg Lake has always insisted that the song is a fond
remembrance of Christmastime as a child reflected against the modern
commercialism of the same.
For the last ten or so years I have been trying to
put two particular words in the same sentence and then use the sentence
intelligently.A while ago, I almost
had a sentence and the perfect opportunity to use it.
Just so we are all on the same page and you know
what I am up against, the two words in question are “epiphany” and
“motherhumper.”Obviously, the trick is
trying to use the term motherhumper intelligently.
Frank Zappa and Ronald Reagan met for lunch at a
small deli that served a popular pastrami sandwich.After a bit of small talk, Ronald Reagan
admitted, “I really never understood your music.Some of it sounds like people running combs
over their guitar strings and then yelping.”
A small slice of pastrami dropped from Reagan’s
sandwich and unceremoniously stuck to the table.
“Perhaps you have confused me with another artist,”
Frank Zappa responded plainly.“That sounds
more like industrial rock.”
“Well, I am actually happy that you listened.I am furthermore happy that I found a way to
get any of my music out there.The
industry did not support me.”
“What about your daughter’s name?” Reagan
asked.“Moon Unit.What did she think when you named her that?”He took another bite of his sandwich.Another slice fell free.
Frank Zappa lifted his conspicuous left brow.“She was pretty young when we named her.I don’t think she really noticed.”
“I had an elderly friend,” Zappa said, “a woman, who
voted for your second term because she liked that you were nice to monkeys.”
Reagan smiled.“Oh…from my film: Bedtime for
Zappa raised both brows.“No.She meant the ones in Washington.”
I found a feather near the lakeshore below my house
this summer.I think the feather came
from a raptor of some kind, perhaps a hawk or an eagle.I brought the feather to my house and placed
it on the night table in the spare bedroom.For several months the feather remained there.Then, late one night, I heard my cat, Splash,
romping all around the house, playing.
He had discovered the feather.
The feather is now his.I tried many times to put the feather back on
the table, but Splash will have none of that.Within a few hours of me placing the feather back on the table, Splash
will retrieve the feather and drag it to some new location.The feather rather migrates around my house
now—dependent upon the particular whims of my cat.
Sometimes, Splash gingerly carries the feather from
place to place.On other occasions, he
thrashes all over the place while toying with the feather.Today I am posting a photograph of Splash
relaxing with his feather.
For the last two days I attended a technical
training seminar.Apparently, the
instructor is very good.At least he
keeps telling those of us in attendance that he is.This man, instructor X, is personally
responsible for saving many, many lives—either directly or by implementing safe
electrical work practices.Interestingly,
he was once electrocuted and pronounced dead, but came back to life again.Before being electrocuted, he had a perfect
photographic memory.As result of his
electrocution he is merely brilliant today and his photographic memory is gone.He is
still fully capable of scoring 100% on every exam he takes.
Our instructor has, in his own words, “lived an
exciting life.”Now, before we continue,
we must firmly establish that someone else, not instructor X, was at fault that
time he was electrocuted.
I paid a great deal of attention to the vast experiences
of our instructor as he espoused them.As
I mentally tallied his years as an electrician, engineer, apprentice
instructor, electrical contractor, plant supervisor, Middle East oilfield
technician, mineworker and Navy man, I realized that this man has accrued 150
years of experience in less than 30 years.
That is exciting!
At the end of yesterday, instructor X was kind
enough to expound upon a conspiracy that I was unaware of.This conspiracy involves road signs in
Colorado (particularly stop signs), the crescent moon, Muslims, too much tolerance,
and the end of America as we know it.Far too complicated for me to follow.
I will admit, I learned a great deal about our
instructor over the last two days, but I really wanted to learn about electrical
safety in the workplace.
I have been searching for something that might prove
my predecessors in the Hegman clan were important, that we added something of
value to this pile of humanity.Maybe,
somewhere, a great thing was accomplished by one of us.There is no Hegmanville nearby.No Hegman Street.A Google search will locate something called
a Hegman gauge.A Hegman gauge—as I am
convinced you will not know what it does—measures something called Hegman
This makes perfect sense, of course.
Okay, a Hegman guage is sometimes referred to as a
grindometer.They are used to determine
how finely ground such things as the pigments in ink or paint are.Good stuff that.Important work.Maybe next time you glance at the paint on
your wall you will think: “Hegman units!”
I like blue paint, by the way.A boy color.
Blue Hegman units!
Here is the important thing: no direct relation
there.I don’t think my Hegman crew had
anything to do with Hegman units. Also
not related to Mike Hegman, the retired black professional football player or
Larry Hagman, the actor from the
sitcom Dream of Jeannie and the soap
So far I have nothing but the broken lot of us here
I am posting a photograph of small prints made in
fresh snow on my concrete driveway.Winter is often difficult to contend with, given the slippery roads, the
long nights and the layering of clothing required in staying warm.Just the same, I would miss the tracks in
fresh snow if I went without winter.
I found a dead bee on the floor of my garage.Dust bunnies and the crumbs from fallen
leaves had collected around the bee.Obviously, the bee died and had been lying there for a considerable time,
frozen in time and inactive.
My first thought was: “Nothing happening there.Just like having Washington D.C. right here
on my garage floor. ”
—Presently, the temperature outside is near fifteen
degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) and the sun has not yet clawed through the
mountains on the eastern horizon.
—All electric power suddenly dropped out at my house
about two and a half hours ago, seemingly dumping me instantly into a black and
—A while ago I located an old kerosene lamp that I
inherited from my mother.The lamp and
my ill temper (which I sometimes adopt for a day or so at a time) are about all
I inherited from her.I am writing this
by the wan and oddly wavering light of the lamp.Every so often I must adjust the wick of the
lamp upward to brighten the ever-dimming flame.
—The suggestion to regularly check all battery
operated flashlights for function makes more sense to me now.
—Twenty pounds of housecat (Splash) is sitting at my
feet wondering why my rapidly cooling house is creaking, moaning, and on
occasion popping knuckles deep inside the walls and above the ceiling as the
bitter cold from the outside pushes in on us.He is also wondering why we are not listening to the Silversun Pickups
or alt-J on the stereo as we normally do at this time.
I just told him: “It’s the power, dude.Not me.”
—The temperature inside me house lowered about seven
degrees in two hours.At the present
rate of temperature drop, the interior of my house will reach zero in about
eighteen hours.I will brave the outside,
fire-up a portable generator and plug in my boiler when the sun rises full if
power is not restored by then.
—I am thinking about that dark blue polyester coat I
had as a kid.I wore that thing
constantly.Inside.Outside.Winter.Summer.I think it basically rotted off me.“Why do you always wear that thing?” one of
my sisters once asked me.
“It is warm,” I answered.
I would like to have that coat back on me about now.
my power finally came back on after about four hours.
I had this dream that I was walking in the mountains
and chanced upon a waterfall made of hundreds of fawn deer and hundreds of calf
elk pouring gracefully together down a steep grass and stone incline.
The weather in Montana is pretty fickle.One minute the sun is shining in Helena and
the next minute tiny frogs are falling from dark clouds near Clancy, maybe ten
Okay, I may need to explain that.
What I mean is that my mother will need to
explain.She told me that when she was a
little girl frogs fell from the sky during a rainstorm near Clancy.I have no way to verify that one now.I would like to say that she was normal
otherwise, but I don’t even know if I can make that claim.
Question: What is the best kind of coat to wear if
it is raining small reptiles?
I have witnessed some pretty powerful weather stuff
myself.Once, while standing alongside
the Swan River near Bigfork talking with some friends, pretty much a whole pine
tree went flying overtop us about fifty feet in the air in a sudden gust of
wind.Just as I pointed and said: “Wow,
look at that!”Trees began smashing to
the ground all around us.I swear,
thirty seconds before that, the air was perfectly calm.We found out the next day that a man was
killed only a few miles away by a tree downed during the same microburst.
Another time, I saw a hailstone the size of a
baseball knock a robin smack out of the air during a fierce storm.
End of robin.
That storm was not particularly good on roofs or car
I also recall a day in the middle of summer, when
highway crews had to call out snow plows to clear hail from the Interstate
highway here in the valley.Which
reminds me: Even down here in the valley, I have seen snow fall in every
calendar month of the year.Yes, even in
July and August.
The weather always has me wondering.Yesterday morning, as example, I went to
town without a jacket.By mid-afternoon
I was wondering where I might find a warm and fuzzy parka.
Every so often I have one of those moments.I had one yesterday morning.While sitting on my sofa drinking a cup of
coffee and writing an exposition about the safe use of digital multimeters on
live electrical circuits, a memory suddenly ruptured all of my intense concentration.At once, I vividly recalled opening the door
for my wife as we entered the wood-front Dewey Bar in Dewey, Montana many years
My wife was laughing just then.The June grass across the highway shone
bright green in the sun.I watched my wife
enter the wood-smelling tavern, leaning only a little against her golden cane, still
laughing.Her dark hair became reflective
as she entered a wash of light inside.
Then all memory vanished again save the sound of
laughter resounding in my ears.
My friend once traveled to a foreign country where
palm trees lean out against an ocean that is so blue the sea birds sit on the
nearby jetty crying because they cannot fly right through the waves.The people living by the sea there are quite
poor.My friend sometimes handed money
to the begging children.He bought whole
chickens for some families.
One night my friend went to a local tavern that was
mostly an open pole hut near the fine sand beach.A partial moon bathed its long silver light
in the ocean which had become a kind of indigo mirror.He spent most of that night buying fancy
drinks for two hookers sitting at the bar.
“They were black,” he said of the hookers, “and they
Somewhere in the night one of the hookers said to my
friend: “You can do anything you want with us.”
“I just want to look at you,” he said.“You are beautiful.”
For the last few weeks, the hills around my home
have been scoured by deer hunters.Occasionally,
I see one or two of the hunters—suspiciously bright orange dots slowly drifting
down a far incline or atop a long rise.I have heard rifle shots echoing through the juniper breaks. Late each evening, though, I see collections
of mule deer that have survived this far though hunting season calmly crossing
the wide expanse of sun-washed grass in front of my house on their way to bed
down for the night.
I cannot quite explain the feeling of
ancient kinship I have for the deer, not the hunters.
I wake from a bad dream about my car not starting
only to discover a housecat sprawled across my neck and feeling like a noose
tightening.When I look for breakfast I
find only two gala apples in my refrigerator and a half-empty bag of corn chips
in the cupboard.
The chips are stale.
surviving in the Philippines.Tornadoes
purpling across the Midwest and dismantling whole towns in seconds.Something about somebody that shot somebody
else.Talk about healthcare is making me
I drive to town for a meeting.
By lunchtime I have missed three important phone calls,
somebody shot somebody else somewhere, wind and snow are raking across the
valley and the temperature has plummeted into the teens.
In the late afternoon I retrieve mail at my remote
mailbox—finding three advertisements and a mailer meant for my long-gone
wife.One of the advertisement flyers
slips from my hand. By the time the flyer
hits the ground, the wind has brought the fucking thing alive.The flyer leaps away, bounds across the road,
somehow clears the fence, and then trots off to join some horses huddled together
like a dark shadow at the far end of the pasture.
At home again, I have one apple left.
And the stale chips.
to Gayle: We can’t slay dragons every day…but we try)
My blog entry yesterday triggered me to think about
my own craft.As an electrician, I am
part of a collection of folks known for being somewhat persnickety.Most electricians register on a on a scale of
behavior that starts at finicky and
ranges up (maybe that is down) to extremely
difficult.One of the electricians
that I worked for during my time as an apprentice, a certain Mr. X, had peaked
at the top of the difficult scale.The question often asked about him by people
from other trades who were trying to cooperatively work with him was this: “So, does someone kick him in the nuts the
minute he gets out of bed every morning or what?”
No, I did not think so.
He was a very capable electrician.Everyone concede that.
One particular behavior, if exhibited by coworkers
or customers, annoyed Mr. X more than all other infractions combined.He did not tolerate a know-it-all looking
over his shoulders and telling him how he might wish to perform a given task.
he might say as someone suggested he should try this or that.At this point, if Mr. X happened to be
working on a live outlet or perhaps a live switch, he would perform a very
interesting electrical trick.He
purposely shorted-out the wires.
Mr. X thought this a pretty good trick.“They
will usually stop bothering me after that,” he suggested.
Yes, we all imagined that did stop them.
At other times, Mr. X simply stopped his work,
handed over his tools, and said: “Here.You do this.You obviously don’t need me.”
Such behavior clearly does not work well in our
newer business models and within our safety-conscious workplaces.Actually, it was not a great fit then,
either.On more than one occasion,
customers called into our shop insisting that someone other than Mr. X be sent
out if they ever called for service again.Naturally, that pleased Mr. X.
Later I will tell you about a neat driving trick Mr.
X negotiated in our shop trucks and how he sometimes forgot that the shops name
and phone number was painted on the side of the truck.