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


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.

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

Art, Modern.

In the WIP, someone writing catalogue copy makes a wee, minor error in placing the artist Paul Klee as post-Expressionist. No, I have no idea why my mind went there, other than this is the semester in the class I teach where art goes from “at worst, not too bad” to “arrrrgh get it away, get it away!”

I’m not a fan of what follows the Impressionists, in case you hadn’t guessed. There are exceptions, but I’d wager that 80% of 20th century art will never find a place on my walls or as computer wallpaper. Continue reading

Escaping School

No, this isn’t another end-of-the year cat post. This is about being Odd and the designated target for four years and more, and what happened. There are reasons why I say that I escaped public high school, rather than graduating. I did learn things, and I had some really good English and science teachers who taught me a great deal that I still use, but oh, lordy, the other students and the administrators… Continue reading