If You Don’t Talk to Your Cat About Catnip…

Athena T. Cat, nipped out.

The season for fresh catnip has arrived. Athena, being a feline of mature years, no longer goes wild with fresh catnip in a clean sock. She just breathes deeply of the fumes and gets spacey. Continue reading

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Light Posting and Slow Responding

Just so you know, I am going to be without internet more or less for the next few weeks. Posting is going to shift to every other day, and I am closing comments, or trying to. I don’t anticipate being able to respond to e-mail for a while, either. Continue reading

Paint Your Wagon

The movie was not a box office success. Filming ran over budget, way over time, and let’s face it, there’s a really good reason Clint Eastwood is not famous for his singing ability. The movie is also long.

Two of the songs became famous: “They call the Wind Maria,” and “Wandering Star.” The movie tells the story of the American West, the dirty, corrupt, flash-in-the-pan part of the story.

Any of my readers who have been in the middle of nowhere, and wondering how-in-the-hell you got there and if you’ll ever get out of the hole you dug, can sympathize. And Harve Presnell had a heck of a voice. Good rule of life: never bet against a gambler named Rotten Luck Willie.

I went through a decade where this seemed to be the theme of my life. Lee Marvin’s other main song, “The First Thing You Know” is the anthem of anyone who kept looking over the next hill to see if there’s anything better, and I quote it in jest when talking about the views of the modern environmental movement (“G-d made the mountains/ G-d made the sky./ G-d made the people,/ G-d knows why!”)

The movie came as the great musicals were fading from the screen, which is part of the problem. Length is another difficulty, and that it’s not light and humorous all the way through. Pardner really isn’t cut out to be a miner. The female lead, Elizabeth,  just wants four walls and a roof and a stable life. That’s not the version of the American West that was popular in 1969.

But I grew up listening to the music, and watching it whenever it came on. I really disliked Elizabeth when I was younger, but I grew to understand her. Still don’t agree, though.

Mages Anonymous?

Having survived one of her panel presentations, Morgana got some information from Justinian Onassis and is contemplating what to do next…

Justinian finished the tea. “No. Students are exempt. However, you need to meet André Lestrang and Rodney. He’s a shadow mage, fully trained, and specializes in curses and power-warp theory.” Morgana crossed her eyes and Justinian chuckled. “That’s my thought as well, but someone’s got to do battle with equations. Not me. He’s probably the best person here. It’s too bad you didn’t get the piece and bring it here so a group could sort it out.”

Morgana sighed and rubbed under her nose. “I thought of that as I drove over the Mississippi.” Actually, she’d been parked on a bridge over the Mississippi stuck in traffic and had thumped her head on the steering wheel several times at her foolishness.

“André is the person you need to talk to,” Justinian repeated. “He’s hard to miss. He’s wearing all black, carries a black cane with a crystal-ball head, and has a navy-blue streak in his hair at the moment. Rodney is a kit-fox.”

Were all shadow mages goths? Or was he just messing with people? Morgana considered what she knew about shadow mages and decided the odds were thirty-seventy. Messing with the mundanes seemed to be a phase almost every magic worker passed through at some point. Most outgrew it. “You’re right. He should be easy to spot.” She played with her empty paper cup. “Thank you. I’m not sure if I feel any better, but I’m glad Smiley and I warned Lelia and Tay not to try a deeper reading of the thing.” Continue reading

Memorial Day 2018

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

From Rudyard Kipling’s “Recessional”

2018 marks the centenary of American military cemeteries outside of the United States. Madingly, Cambridge, England is the most haunting of those I’ve visited. Perhaps because in the far distance you can see Ely Cathedral half-floating over the Fens, the great marshes of eastern England.

Charity, Tradition, and Isolation

From the days of Amarillo’s founding, if an individual wanted to show off their wealth, one of the expectations was that they would do so by donating to or founding a charitable organization. The first major rancher in Amarillo, William Bush (no relation to the presidents), realized that the area desperately needed a hospital. He looked at options, and even though he was not Catholic, decided that the Sisters of Mercy were the best at managing a hospital and providing care, so he invited them to the wilds of the Texas Panhandle and founded St. Anthony’s Hospital. Other ranchers, bankers, and developers followed suit. Continue reading