Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Buddha Vampire

Vampires are real.  In fact your home is likely filled with them.  These are not the kind of vampires that sleep in coffins and swish around in capes.  Most are unaffected by sunlight and garlic.  The vampires I am talking about are “vampire loads” on your electrical system.  These are small users of electrical current that suck juice all day and all night from circuits throughout your home.
Vampire loads are those tiny bits of power consumed by appliances and electronics while the appliances are in standby mode—just sitting there waiting for you to put them to work.  Over recent years, vampire loads have proliferated.
Look around your house.  See that LED glowing on your power strip?  See the blinking lights on your wireless router?  Don’t forget the digital clock and timer on your coffee maker.  Count anything with a remote.  Even the lighted switches you recently installed. 
I read varying estimates on the cost of vampire loads.  They appear to cost the average homeowner at least $100.00 per year.  By the nature of our electronics (and the way we have embraced them) I don’t see us shedding our vampire loads anytime soon.  I even have one load, my Buddha light ball, upon which I purposely waste power. 
I ran the numbers on Buddha.  At a mere 0.125 amperes of steady current flow, he costs me $14.45 in power usage each year.
Thing is, Buddha makes for a cool vampire.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Old School

Increasingly, I see young people on television and on streets wearing earbud headphones.  I have even begun to see people at work wearing them.  They are using music and new technology to tune out others.  I am old school.  I can plainly hear everyone I choose to ignore.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Gunsight Pass

Nearly fifty years have slipped by since that day my father and I went hunting in the Big Belt Mountains.  I was twelve.  We left our truck in the deep blue before sunrise and clambered straight up one side of a steep mountain as the sun climbed up the side opposite.
We reached the top in full sun, finding ourselves in a stiff wind.  The top of the mountain was something we call a gunsight pass—a distinct “V” shape at the top.  The V was formed by two rims of hard stone muscling up from the grass and trees.
My father pointed to a small outcrop of rock near the very center of the pass.  “Let’s go sit on the other side of that, out of the wind.  We can rest for a while.”
My father had told me that buck mule deer often crossed through the pass.  Not long after we settled in a nook out of the wind, my father poked me.  He pointed.  I stretched to peer overtop the stone at my back, my rifle held beside me.  On the windward side, a pair of mule deer does were walking toward us.  With the wind steady at their back, they had no scent of us.  To my amazement, one of the does continued to walk straight toward the outcrop behind which we were resting.  The top third of my rifle barrel protruded above the stone.  She walked directly to the barrel and sniffed at it.  She looked me squarely in the face.  Her eyes were dark, unmoving.
She wiggled her ears.
I could have touched her.
After only a few seconds, she stepped back, joined the other doe, and they melted into the windswept stones and trees and grass.  Not the buck we were looking for.
At sunset yesterday, this year’s hunting season for deer ended.  Earlier in the day, that girl and I watched Dot, our friendly local mule deer doe, nosing around our deck.  I worried about Dot making it through this hunting season.  She exhibits no great fear of people.  She has walked up to me while I am outside.  She does not run off when I open the door to step outside if she is here.  Honestly, I think she is a bit “simple.”
At dusk last night, Kevin called me.  “Dot is bedded down here at my place,” he said.  “Thought you might want to know.”
Good to know.   One more year the doe has crossed-over gunsight pass.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 27, 2016


—A grasshopper can jump 10 times its body length in height and broad jump 20 times its length.
—The average flea can jump a bit over 5 inches vertically and about 8 inches horizontally.  Such a vertical jump is equivalent to a man leaping over a 30 story building.   The horizontal jump is 200 times the flea’s body length.  In one documented experiment, a flea performed a 13 inch long-jump—equivalent to a 5-foot tall person jumping lengthwise across two football fields.
—Fish often jump from the water to avoid a predator or bully pursuing them.
—The Van Halen song “Jump,” aside from having vapid lyrics, was the band’s most successful single and the only one to reach number one on the charts.
—Adult elephants, hippos, rhinos, and sloths cannot jump.
—People jump to conclusions when they are light on facts.
—As near as I can tell, “hoppa” is Swedish for jump.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sources: Discovery,,,, Time, Wikipedia, Billboard

Saturday, November 26, 2016

40 Pounds of Predator?

I find increasing difficulty in believing my 40 pounds of housecat descended from fierce predator forecats (forecats = forefathers).  For one thing, my cats have enormous bellies.  Carmel, especially.  His belly behaves like a Newton’s cradle.  If he trots—which he will do at first sight of canned food—his belly sways wildly back and forth and tends to maintain the motion even once he stops.  He is only a few plates of Fancy Feast from having his belly dragging on the floor.
Also, my cats are clueless.  Just yesterday, Carmel tried to jump up onto my work desk and missed in spectacular fashion.  He ended up on his butt with my papers raining down all around him.  And there was that time Splash tried run through my screen door.
The look he gave me when he picked himself up again!  Like it was my fault.
My cats are averse to chilly weather, wind, rain, errant noise (my door bell sends them off like fat rockets), and snow.  Again, just yesterday, I opened my door to let Splash out, only to have him plow back at me when the wind lifted a tuft of his matted fur.
My 40 pounds of housecat spend most of their day flopped down on carpeted patches of sunlight or curled into pillows and blankets, marking time between meals.  I will admit, Carmel will sometimes terrorize a paper napkin when one hits the floor.  And Splash will chase a fly to the windows.  In most cases, however, the chase ceases when Splash bonks his head on the window.
Again, that look he gives me.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 25, 2016

When the Phone is not Ringing

I often tease about my smarter-than-me-phone being, well, smarter than me.
No kidding there.
I am astounded by what my phone can do.  Voice commands.  Operations by touch.  Countless ringtones.  Emailing.  A flashlight.  Maps.  Games.
For those of us who grew up with landlines—sometimes party lines where users shared the same line—the change is visceral.  In the old days, we were tethered to our phones and our phones could not go outside the house.  I recall times of duress when I sat near the phone, waiting for important calls.  Every so often I would pick up the phone and check for dial tone.  Ring, dammit!
And our old-timey wall phones rang like a bell.  Plates in nearby cupboards would rattle if the ringer was cranked to loudest setting.
Way back in the days of film cameras and cars with big chrome bumpers, I lived in an apartment with thin walls.  I could hear when the phones rang in six or seven of the nearest apartments.  One of the most miserable nights of my life was the night following my crash from a relationship with a long-time girlfriend.  I was not going to call her.   She would have to call me.  Naturally, I sat by my phone the entire night.  All around me, I heard wall phones and desk phones clamoring in nearby apartments.  Mine remained silent all through the night.
That hurt.
Today, many of us run in silent mode.  We text our pain and our rage.  Dial tone is gone.  When someone sets their cellphone to an old-timey bell ringtone, we are startled to hear it ring.  At the other end, a voicemail answers if the party we are calling is not available.  When someone calls us, we know who is calling.  If we are lonely in our apartment, we can grab our phones and google a few videos of cats failing into bathtubs filled with water.
That’s funny.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Since today is Thanksgiving Day, I thought I might list a few things for which I am thankful:
—I am thankful I will run out of time before I can compile a comprehensive list of all the stupid things I have done.
—I am thankful life is not a cartoon where steering wheels come off in your hands.
—I am thankful for that girl.  Seriously, I am.
—I am thankful I don’t live in a country where men’s shirts button up from the back.
—I am thankful for all of my family and all of my friends.
—I am thankful we stopped our currency system at two decimal points, otherwise everything would be selling at $9.999.
—I am thankful for mountains that build rivers that build valleys.
—I am thankful water doesn’t taste like mustard.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I love carrot cake.  I am as fond of sitting as the next guy.  I fully embrace naked.  But I am not sure about sewing these all together in the form of “sploshing.”
Sploshing is a recent brand of sexual fetish.  The idea is fairly workmanlike.  You get naked and video yourself sitting on a cake or some other dessert.
I discovered sploshing yesterday while browsing the internet for “odd” news.
Technically, sploshing describes a wide range of activities.  Those include using a naked person as a table for a feast, rolling around in a pile of baked beans, slathering yourself in butter, and so on.  The sky (or, hopefully, something out there) is the limit.
According to Wikipedia, sploshing also falls under a somewhat broader category known as “wet and messy” fetishism.  Wet and messy has been around for a while.  Costumes, food, latex, all kinds of props and activity might be brought into the mix.  Apparently, videos abound.  Those involved in this stuff call themselves “wammers.”
I find all of these food-related sexual fetishes interesting and oftentimes odd.  Just the same, given the choice between Salma Hayek and sitting on a carrot cake…well, you know.
--Mitchell Hegman
PHOTO: Daily Mirror

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

These Are Mine

Each morning, these are mine:

Meteors scratching brightly against the predawn sky.
That girl sleeping soundlessly, sweetly in the new direction.
An old pair of shoes that knows my old direction.
One cat curled on the floor and one observing from the window bay.
Water murmuring in the kitchen, evolving into coffee.
Flashing between four channels of must see news.
Facebook friends.
My smarter-than-me-phone.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 21, 2016

About that Chicken

Everyone loved my chicken.  Strangers approached me, commenting.  One woman stopped me on a sidewalk filled with passersby.  “Did you paint that chicken yourself?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“I love the color.  So beautiful!”
“It’s red,” I told her.
The chicken—a real one—was secured to my coat at the shoulder.  The chicken was dead.  More precisely, the chicken had been cleaned and plucked.  I had meticulously painted the naked bird with bright red paint and then fixed the bird to the left shoulder of my coat.
Just as I reached up to adjust the chicken before entering a theater, I came awake in my bed.
Only a crazy dream.
Consider this: The lock-stitch sewing machine was inspired by a dream experienced by Elias Howe in 1845.  In his dream, Howe was captured by cannibals.  He dreamed they were stabbing him with spears that had holes in the tips.  From that dream came the sewing machine and all of our clothing.
And this: Albert Einstein conceived the theory of relativity after a dream about cows bumping into an electric fence.  In the dream, Einstein witnessed the cows jumping back from one angle, while the farmer who switched on the fence witnessed from another.  From that dream came the idea that things appear differently to observers—depending on where they are standing and how long it takes light to reach them.
Perhaps there is greatness in my future.  I simply need to think more about the red chicken on my shoulder.      

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 20, 2016


When she planted her feet, her mind wandered.
When she walked, her mind lay still.
So, she walked.
Below scarp and drumlin.  Through smooth hills made silver by light.  She walked to a place where the land split wide open and bands of antelope spewed forth, inventing dust.
The last fence simply petering out in the bunchgrass.  Clouds tumbled aloft.
Some called this place the “Big Open.”
And that’s where she stopped walking.
From there she could walk in any direction, and yet, only now did she understand the freedom of simply standing still.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My Friends

A person’s character might remain largely internalized and may only be revealed in times of decision-making, crisis, or any other number of emotionally charged events.  Certain “character tells” do exist in our every-day lives.  Behavior around (and treatment of) pets is one of those.
Any number of traits can be assessed by watching someone interact with dogs or cats: level of kindness, patience, respect for others, and desire for inclusiveness.  Interactions with pets may also bring forth anger or reveal an abusive nature.  And consider this: Animal abuse is often the first manifestation of emotional turmoil in children.  Bigger yet, serial killers often begin their murderous streaks by killing animals and pets.
Conversely, some people are beacons for cats and dogs.  Such was the case for Uyen, my wife.  No matter how big the crowd of people, dogs would immediately approach her first, tails wagging.  They sensed her kind spirit. 
When I am at any sort of function with a gathering of both people and pets, I take note of the interactions between people and pets.  I am not looking for serial killers.  I just want to know who my friends are.     

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 18, 2016

Defining Moment

What if the defining moment of my life came in Japan on that overcast day near Mount Fuji in 1985? 
Remember that day?  Kevin and I jostling about in an absurdly windowed bus as the bus swayed across rumpled terrain near Mount Fuji.  My camera sat on my lap.  If the clouds parted, I would catch the great mountain swathed in low clouds.  What more spectacular than Fuji?
We boarded a ferryboat on a lake settled into the green foothills near the summit.  We slipped quietly across dark water.  Even as heavy clouds pushed down firmly and touched against the calm surface, a local guide assured us the boat would provide an unrivalled view.  The clouds would part.
I held my camera in hand.
Our guide told us we would soon come to a place where the foothills fall back to a notch that reveals “the most beautiful view of Fuji in all the country.”  In all probabilities, I would have this opportunity only once in my life.  The boat sliced over the calm, reflective surface.  The hills fell away.  And I looked up into the sky to see nothing but the slug-colored underbellies of the thick clouds smothering entirely the high mount.
I have a photo of Kevin grimacing.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three Little-Known Facts

1. There is no direct translation of the English term “fuckweed” into Islandic.
2. In the wild, moose do not “prance” naturally.  A moose will prance only if someone sneaks up and slugs them full-force in the soft part of the belly.
3. Worldwide, there are only four known cases of people surviving slugging a moose in the belly.  In all cases, the survivors were males between the age of eighteen and twenty.  All had been drinking alcohol.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Descriptors of People I Know

—He’s all thumby-uppy all of the time.
—She looks like a penny but walks like a milllion bucks.
—He didn’t peer into the eye of God.  He was on the other end.
—His hands rarely pay attention to what the rest of him is supposed to be doing.
—She doesn’t have to leave for me to miss her.
—He can take a rough idea and make it rougher.
—Her mind is like a house filled with 30 cats and one dog that won’t stop chasing them.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Permission to Correct

The other day, during a casual conversation, that girl used the term “thermostat” in referring to a thermometer.  I did not correct her.   I later thought about the conversation and realized that I had not given myself permission to correct her.  Only then did it occur to me that I have a kind of mental checklist that I use before granting myself “permission to correct.”
The checklist is pretty simple:
1.  Did I know exactly what she meant?
2.  Is my life really impacted by the incorrect usage of that particular word?
3.  Do I sometimes get annoyed when people correct my even though I know they understood what I meant?
Hell, yes.
Communication successful.  No need for correction.
There are times, though, when every word matters.  When I am teaching National Electrical Code classes, I begin by asking those in attendance to “please correct me” if I misspeak or say something they feel is instinctively wrong.  In such a venue we are all there to learn.  More importantly, misspeaking may have consequences in matters of interpreting Code requirements.  Thankfully, the folks attending my classes—electricians, contractors, engineers, and inspectors—are more than eager to correct me.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 14, 2016

In Hot Water

While taking my shower, I detected the water gradually escalating in temperature.  Not terribly hot.  Just hot.  I continued swaying under the spray of water, thinking.
I was thinking about my father.
My father came and went from my life—from the lives of everyone close to him.
He was hilarious when sober.  As funny as any comedian that might pop into your mind.  His own laughter sounded like the best mountain creek prancing down a mountainside.
My father was also very dark.  He often lashed out at some imprecise unfairness that haunted his life.
He was a mean drunk.
He pushed everyone aside in nightly drunken binges and then tried to draw everyone back in when he sobered under in the first wash of morning light.  When I was a little kid, I could not understand this.  As I got older, I wanted to disengage.
Enveloped in water incrementally rising in temperature, I thought about how three of us kids brought him back near the end.  And then he turned strange.  He wanted me to give up my life—my job, my wife and daughter—so I could go help him fight his cancer in Hawaii.  He’d found a fringe treatment using hydrogen peroxide.
“Why doesn’t Stella go with you?” I asked him.  Stella: wife number four.
“She can’t go!” he snipped.  “She has to stay here and take care of the cat!”
So that ended everything for us.  A cat.
Off he went to Hawaii to die.  Small man alone. 
By the time I finished with my shower, my skin was red from the heat.  I almost burned myself, Dad.  You sonofabitch.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Smile-Girl

Molly sketched a smile-girl on the whitest sheet of paper she could find.  She drew a big grin on the smile-girl, and then penciled two dark and giant hands that were bigger.  In fact, the two giant hands were bigger than the smile-girl’s body.
Molly then invented a story for the smile-girl.  In the story, the smile-girl liked dollar bills, but didn’t like wolves.  She played in rain and soft sand and slept under a blanket patterned with giraffes.  Sometimes, the smile-girl’s hands became so heavy she dragged them around like two dead cows.  And the smile-girl never had to wash dishes because she always broke them.  And she couldn’t write her name.  When the smile-girl clapped, the townspeople ran for home because they imagined a terrible thunderstorm.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Aliens from Outer Space versus a Colonoscopy

Back in the 1970s and 1980s a rash of stories about humans being abducted by aliens from outer space hit the news.  Those stories always fascinated me.  I recall remarking to a friend of mine: “Geez, I think it would be cool to be abducted like that.  I would try to talk with the aliens, right?  They always release the people again.”
“What about the anal probe thing?” he asked without hesitation.
‘Yeah, I guess you’re right.  I didn’t think it through.”
That was often part of the story.  People claiming to be abducted said they were transported up into a spacecraft and surrounded by pale-looking aliens with big eyes.  The aliens conducted tests on them with a host of weird, shiny instruments.  Some kind of anal probe was often one of those tests.
Not long after all of those abductions, colonoscopy became a craze here on earth.  I am thinking the timing of this was a coincidence, but I am not sure.
Okay, colonoscopy is not really a craze.  Doctors recommend that people have the procedure done at the age of fifty as a preemptive strike against colon cancer.  Naturally, I put the procedure off for ten years.
I had my first colonoscopy two days ago.  I was very nervous at first.  Fortunately, my doctor had a beard and looked more like a beer-drinking logger than an alien from outer space.  I was going to insist that he place an X on the spot of entry before they dispatched me into the twilight, but decided against that at the last moment.
Honestly—other than the dreadful noise—having a colonoscopy was a snap.  I slept through the whole thing.  The nurses could not have been nicer.  No pain after.  Cleansing your colon prior to the procedure is a bit peculiar, but as I told my brother-in-law, “It’s not like sitting on the toilet is something new…I’ve been doing it for years.”
But that noise!   I am talking about the first two days following the procedure.  Ever since the colonoscopy, my stomach has sounded like a haunted house filled with teenagers pranking each other.  Sometimes it sounds like heavy equipment ripping a tunnel through solid rock.  That girl put it pretty accurately: “It’s no different than turning on the water in your house after you shut it down to work on the plumbing—the pipes make noise as they refill with water.”
Those abducted by aliens often claimed the anal probing was quite painful.  I was just thinking about those pale-looking aliens with big eyes.  I wonder if all the anal probing they do makes them look like that?

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lame Duck America

We have always called the period a sitting president and our legislative bodies spend in office between the election of successors and the successors assuming their offices a “lame duck session.”   Typically, little beyond formalities transpire during these sessions.  Not much decision-making occurs.
At the same time, the entire nation usually falls into something of a lame duck session of its own.  General numbness on the part of some.  Jubilation and hope on the on the winning side.
Things are much different this election.
Some on the losing side have protested in the streets.  People weeping, thrashing in disbelief and despair.  On the other side?  I have never seen such sore winners.  Gloating.  Every comment ending with disparaging—no—purely hateful remarks about Hillary Clinton.
Clearly we had two very different candidates this year.  The issues became personal.  Add to that a plethora of news media organizations that constantly cater to (and constantly feed) voters of a certain belief system.  Then, toss social media into the mix.
It’s an ugly bomb.
Social media is a tinderbox.  Everyone has matches they can strike and then flick into the tinderbox to set it aflame.  And they do.   This is especially true of Facebook.
We are clearly divided this lame duck session.  It helps very little that candidate Clinton appears to have taken the popular vote but lost the election by dint of the electoral college.
Thankfully, the sitting president, president-elect Trump, and candidate Clinton have each struck conciliatory tones.  Fact is, Trump won by all the rules as we know them.  We all must recognize this. 
I could use a little calm after this storm.  Once president-elect Trump assumes office and begins doing and saying things that offend half the nation (as every president does) we can go back to being our messy selves again.
Until then, please use Facebook to post a few cute puppy videos or a montage of sweet idiots falling on their face while attempting stupid tricks on skateboards.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Feeding the Birds

Last week, I purchased some blueberries that were not very tasty.  I let them sit outside the refrigerator for a few days hoping their flavor might sweeten.
The taste did not improve.
Not wanting to let the berries go to waste, I dumped them outside for the birds.
The other morning, the birds finally arrived to eat the berries.  They were not very good birds.  These particular birds could not fly and they had cloven hooves.  One had smallish antlers.
I took photographs of the birds from my windows.  I have posted three of the photographs here today.  Very curious birds, these.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Election Over, a Shooting Star

I am not a political person by nature.  Sure, I pay attention to what is going on.  I take in a little news from all sources.  Still, I have never been able to throw myself “all in” behind anyone.  This election cycle, I found both major party candidates exceedingly flawed.  Worse than that, I saw my entire country deeply divided and fringed with visceral hatred on both sides.  Too much name-calling and hyperbole for my taste.  I found the whole process below the dignity of my great country.  I don’t need to list the transgressions here—we all lived through it.
So here it is: I voted third party.
Normally, I eagerly watch election returns.  Last night, I crawled into bed early and allowed 20 pounds of housecat to curl at my feet.  Upon waking this morning, I consulted my smarter-than-me-phone to find Donald Trump as the winner.
I am not particularly happy about that.  Trump is a name-calling bully.  Those who golf with Trump say he is a far bigger cheater than Bill Clinton.  I have never been able to abide either of those traits.  His propensity for litigation also disturbs me.  Had Trump gone to my grade school, he is the type my rowdy friends would have beat-up.
After seeing the election results, I started coffee, fed my 40 pounds of housecat, and stepped outside to sit in the hot tub.  Above me, the stars spread forth in all directions, unwavering.  I couldn’t take my eyes off them.  Beautiful as ever.  And then, like a mouse scurrying across a bed of coals, a shooting star crossed the entire expanse.
Now that he is president, I wish Donald Trump the best.  I hope he finds the courage and means to bring our split country together again.  We cannot tolerate more “us against them.”
Another day begins.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Body Integrity Identity Disorder

Most people, if asked what they might change about their bodies, would readily come up with something.  Taller.  Different hair.  A perfectly flat abdomen.  Maybe hide that scar earned from a tumble off a bicycle at the age of five.  Have a conspicuous mole surgically removed.
There are individuals among us—a rare few—who would do more than remove a mole.  They are desperate to amputate an arm or leg, maybe more.  They are perfectly healthy, mind you, and there is nothing wrong with the appendages they want gone.  These people suffer from something termed “Body Integrity Identity Disorder” (BIID), sometimes called Apotemnophilia.
People suffering from BIID are not mentally ill in any normal sense.  Other than that one glaring outlier—wanting to slice off a part or parts of their body—they are wholly normal.  Often, those afflicted with BIID cannot clearly express why they feel the urge to amputate.  Some feel that the offending limb or limbs are not a part of them.  They may know exactly the point at which the aberrant appendage must be severed.  Recent studies have revealed that the condition may result from very specific connectivity problem within the brain. 
On occasion, someone grappling with Body Integrity Identity Disorder will contact a doctor, pleading to have an arm or leg surgically removed.
Doctors don’t remove perfectly good appendages on a whim.
A few BIID sufferers will take on the matter of amputating arms and legs themselves.  There are cases where people afflicted with the disorder used saws, firearms, freezing, even sprawling across train tracks in front of an oncoming train to remove their own body parts.  
Oddly, those few that follow through and self-amputate are often much happier after the event.  In their mind, they are whole for the first time in their life.    

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Confessions

—During most of my grade school art sessions, I sat at my desk eating construction paper paste.
—I read poetry regularly.
—I have not, and will not, ever, wear a speedo. (Note: you’re welcome)
—At the age of five, I entered a neighbor’s house when they were not home, messed around with stuff in their refrigerator, and stole a small green plastic army soldier.   I liked the soldier’s stance with his rifle.
—I have never witnessed a live birth of any kind.
—Watching adult humans drinking milk they know came from a cow makes me a little queasy.
—Yesterday, I saved a spider’s life…and I don’t like spiders.
—Given a choice, I would rather carve lions from blocks of soapstone.
—I am uncomfortable when surrounded by silence because my head soon fills with blaring thoughts.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Kindness has neither a head nor a tail.  Kindness stands alone.  An act of generosity performed as atonement for some previous transgression is not kindness.  Offering help for the favor of help returned barely rises above bribery.
Have I been kind?
Thinking about this, I realize that I have, at times, been profoundly kind to animals.
My kindness toward fellow humans, on the other hand, has been rare.  In those interactions I am often expecting something in return.  So far as atonement—nearly everything I do swims in that direction.  

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 5, 2016


They say fear is just an illusion.  If that’s so, I think it’s a pretty crummy one.  I much prefer the illusion where you stuff a pretty girl in a box and then saw her in half with a huge circular saw that drops down from above.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Crooked Wall Clock

My crooked wall clock tells time accurately.  For a time that bothered me immensely.
Not the accuracy.
The crooked.
The clock hangs in my den.  I can see it from where I commonly sit in the living room.  My wife and I—after much deliberation—hung the clock where now resides.  That, almost exactly 25 years ago.  Only a few weeks after hanging the clock, I complained to my wife: “What the hell is wrong with that clock?”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
I pointed.  “It’s crooked.”  I walked over lifted the clock to reveal the small nail angled into the wall.  I studied the perfectly centered factory mounting notch.  Nothing awry there.  I carefully hung the clock again and adjusted the outside frame square with the house.  I stepped back, nodded approval.
A few days later the wall clock was hanging crooked again.
I straightened the clock.  I think our constant in and out at the door to the garage—which is nearby—vibrates the clock askew.
For years this went on.  Maybe every few months, sometimes after only a few weeks, I would find the clock crooked and tweak it plumb again.  In that time, housecats came and went.  My daughter crashed my little red truck, went off to college.  She later lived in London, New York City, and San Francisco.  She married and lost a husband to cancer only six months after they wed.  I constructed a cabin deep in the woods.  I changed my career, twice.  My wife and I saved money.  Prepared for a comfortable retirement.  We did everything correctly.   Then, on a blustery spring day almost six years ago, a doctor told my wife she had “weeks to months” left to live.
My wife did not make months.  Only weeks.
That damned clock didn’t drop so much as a fucking minute, ever.
Somewhere in all of that, I let the clock remain crooked.  It is crooked as I write this.  I might plumb it up when I set the clocks back this weekend.
I didn’t give up on the clock.  I gave up on trying to manage and control everything around me.  My sensibilities shifted.  As the phrase goes: I let go.  Maybe, instead of setting the clock, that girl and I can go do something nonproductive.    
In youth, we try to divert creeks and make then conform to our vision of what we want the creek to be.  In our advancing years, we follow the river where it goes because we know all the creeks have gathered to go the same way.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Deeper Sky

Day into night, our sky is different.  We are called “Big Sky Country.”  Maybe there is some exaggeration in that.  Perhaps other skies occupy the same wall space.  But our sky is deeper.  Here, there exists a rare clarity of view.  During the day, you can stand at one end of the sky and see all the way across to the other.  Given the time, you can watch a single cloud sail from edge to edge.  At night, the stars spray against you like seawater splashed up from the mountains.
We enjoyed unruffled skies all day, yesterday.  The calm remained as the sun dropped across the Rocky Mountains.  The sky repainted itself in new colors second by second.  I found myself trotting outside to capture images.  Posted today are three photographs I captured.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Here is what I thought about: sashimi.
Here is what I was supposed to be thinking about: conductor ampacity correction factors based on ambient temperatures above 30° C (86° F). 
I can think about conductor ampacity correction factors for only so long.  About twenty seconds, at maximum.  That kind of thinking hurts by brain.  Everything scrambles, and then, in pops sashimi.
People often confuse sashimi with sushi.  Sushi is pretty much anything cold and slimy, along with rice, wrapped up in seaweed.  It can be cooked slimy stuff.  Why a person would wrap perfectly good food in seaweed—let alone eat it—I don’t know.
Sashimi, on the other hand, is raw fish.  The name sashimi, in Japanese, means “pierced body.”  There are several trains of thought on how raw fish came to be named sashimi.  One possibility is that the name reflects back onto traditional times when harvested ‘sashimi grade’ fish were dispatched by stabbing a spike in their brain as soon as they were landed.
I mean, this whole thing is a public relations nightmare.
What you have here, then, is stabbed raw fish.  And now somebody wants you to pay good money to eat it.  This product is not going to get off the ground in East Helena, Montana.
So, sashimi, if you are out there reading this, I have a couple public relation thoughts for you.  First, try not being a fish.  Second, try getting cooked.
I might even consider a few temperature correction factors for you.
Note: I actually like both sushi and sashimi.  Also, I gleaned some information (always risky) and the photograph from Wikipedia.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Before the Colonoscopy

I am a little more than a week away from going in for my first colonoscopy.  Tomorrow, I am scheduled for something termed a “pre-teaching” with either the doctor doing the procedure or an assistant.  Apparently, we need to get together so we can figure out which end of me is the ass.

--Mitchell Hegman