Friday, August 18, 2017


Tonight I heard them, the cannonades. Not sure that's a word, maybe just made it.

But it's a fitting description of late night San Simeon sound when, with windows open, I  hear violent surf crashing against the inlet.

The ocean once presided over much of the world. It seems intent tonight on taking it back.

Breaker after breaker.
Often sounding only 30 yards from my back deck, sometimes it echoing back from the hills behind us.

Nelson's victory at Trafalgar, Odysseus conquers the Aegean.
Nice reading.

ultimately, the ocean wins.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Desert Solitaire

Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire was very much on my mind tonight and my aimless mind composed yet another ignorable blog entry…

Leaving San Simeon in a few weeks and my beach friends will soon be asking me what I see in the deserts of Arizona.

Well, try to consider...

Life, Death, and Coexistence on a grand and immediate scale.

I’ve recently spent three days with a friend in the California high country and managed to drag my sorry butt to the higher 9000 foot lakes. 

We saw two deer, one or two squirrels. And a lot of dead trees.

In a month or so I will return to the city of Tucson and a backyard filled with roadrunners, doves, quail, multiple squirrel species, and the occasional snake, tarantula, coyote and a possible gila monster.

And so from Edward Abbey’s, Desert Solitaire:

The desert is a vast world, an oceanic world, as deep in its way and complex and various as the sea.

But a better passage was provided by my brother Mark, a near- native Tucsonan:

The Desert:  Its brilliant colors, its diverse wildlife, its vast empty places and all its veiled beauty--grows on you.  No one comes here expecting to stay; the landscape is just too harsh, too barren and too unforgiving, not at all what we are used to or even what we imagine we would like.

 But the air, the silence, and the seductive encore of a thousand crimson sunsets, slowly and imperceptibly pulls us in, wins us over and holds us captive, to this steadfast celebration of life, in the most austere and inhospitable of surroundings.  If even the dry and dusty desert can bloom, then so can we.

You nailed it Mark.


Monday, July 17, 2017


This is what happens when you forget to spray insecticide around your house:

The lizards get big and fat and growl when you walk by.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Haiku for Tribune

1:45 am

I don't want to live
In a big city place where
Coyotes don't sing.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

User Guide Warning: Aging Humans

If you are over sixty, consider the harmful effects of taking up artistic pursuits, i.e. painting, drawing, or water colors.
     1. It will rewire your brain in unpredictable ways.
     2. Your experience of reality might drastically change.
     3. Whereas you saw shapes and colors, you will now
          perceive the added dimension of depth, shadow,
          light--its absence and presence.
     4. Drawing a simple and boring pine cone, after forty
          years of not drawing nothing/anything,
          is now a herculean task.


     5. You might discover little talent. Much worse, a
         modicum of it. Either way, you're screwed and
        decades late.

But you can at least get closer to the destination.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday, Evil Sunday

I walked downhill for a Sunday paper from the corner store.
Passing our auxiliary parking lot of three much coveted units, I saw an elderly lady standing by an open-hooded car.
Her appearance and sweet demeanor reminded me of a Warner Brother's cartoon, the grandma owner of Tweedy-Pie, you know, the bird that always says, "I taught I saw a pussycat"?

Smiling my best Dexter smile I said "Hello" and walked on.

After purchasing a newspaper, a chance meeting with a neighbor, Eddie, found us both walking back up the hill. When we reached the sweet old lady, still standing beside her open-hooded grey car,  Eddie gallantly asked, "Do you need help?"
"Oh no," she said, "I'm waiting for Triple A to bring me a new battery."

Eddie and I parted company and I was two sections into my paper when a tow truck passed by my living room window.

A mere two minutes later, Satan HIMSELF appeared outside that same window!
He was disguised as my next-door neighbor Bill.
"Hey, John..."
I opened my window, but only part way (mindful never to grant evil forces a full run of your household)
"There's a parking space available down there," he said in a smooth and seductive voice. "Why don't you take it?"
"I don't know," I replied to Bill/Satan and after a long moment, "It seems kind of mean..."
Eventually the evil apparition drifted away from my window.

My wife, sitting beside me and a full spectator to my temptation, was appalled.
"What, you're not going to take it? That car has sat there unmoved for at least four months! I'd take our car down there myself if I wasn't in my robe."

I said nothing, sin of omission.

In a flash, my wife threw off her ritual flowered muu-muu and appeared instantly in street clothes. Car keys in hand, she flew out the front door. I glimpsed a head shaking in disgust as she charged our car down the street.

She returned.
Feeling a bit queasy, I sought fresh air on our back deck.

A grey car was circling the park, like a mother bird searching for a nest.

A raven stood in outrage.
I wanted a shower then--and absolution.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's Hot Here

How hot is it?

Yesterday 116, but today is a cooler 115--both record breakers for this region of Hell.
Possibly 118 tomorrow.

When I arrived at my wildlife observation platform (deck) at 7:30 am yesterday, it was 90 degrees. I sat and drank iced coffee until 8 am, just 30 minutes, but had to go inside then because it had already reached 100.

I got a bird feeder for my birthday, and it's a really popular site until the nuclear sun explodes over the mountains at 5 am. Then squirrels, rabbits, cardinals, dove and quail suddenly blend back into cactus shadows until sundown.

The animals are on edge when they return. I saw two curved billed thrashers trying to thrash each other. Two male quail had a dust-up. And squirrels bully the birds for control of the feeder.

City workers are wearing special shoes because the asphalt is 150 degrees and melting their soles.

Commercial flights have been cancelled at local airports because hot air doesn't have enough loft.

I no longer visit the oven my shed has become to polish rocks. Really need to pack them up and prepare for our Sunday departure.  The thing is, I just can't stay outside more than 5 minutes even with the aid of cold water--or beer!

Homeless people in this city are looking for shelter--even thinking about buying homes.

Nobody visits any of the three pools in our park. Fear of scalding.

We bought a fixer-upper house down the street and have to keep the AC on because we're afraid it might burst into flames before we get to live in it.

It has a nice view of the mountains, but you can't see them now.

Multiple wildfires in the foothills.  I guess when it gets hot enough, even dirt can burn.

The sad thing is, most of this is lacks my usual exaggerations.
California here we come!