Caution: Unattended Vehicles May Be Filled With Produce

Squash season has begun. MomRed left her windows rolled down and walked briefly out of sight of her vehicle, in order to talk to a neighbor about a different neighbor’s health situation. Three pounds of onions and squash later . . .

Guess who got to make squash-n-onions? It’s an easy way to use summer squash. It’s also very much a “make to taste” recipe, because once you get past the squash, oil, and onion, everything else depends on the cook. You want garlic? Toss it in. Bacon crumbles? Fresh herbs? Sausage? Leftover pork loin? Miniature tomatoes or regular tomatoes? Go for it! Continue reading


Old War-Horse Hymns

Since worship resumed with live bodies in the pews at my place of worship, the hymns (and now anthems) have all been from before about 1960, with one or two rare exceptions. Things like “Old Rugged Cross,” “It is Well With my Soul,”* “Guide Me, O, Thou Great Jehovah,” ‘The Church’s One Foundation,” “Jesu, Lover of My Soul,” and so on, the hymns I grew up with and that my parents grew up with. Continue reading

Book Review: The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth

A slight warning: This book is not for the squeamish or those not really interested in medical oddities from before WWI.

Morris, Thomas. The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine. (New York: Dutton/Penguin Books) 2018. E-Book.

The book is a collection of medical cases that Morris found while doing other research. He is not a physician, but a historian who got curious. All the accounts come from what were at the time reputable professional journals and personal accounts. Several, even at the time, were noted as being so strange that the editors were not entirely certain about them (such as the titular exploding teeth.) Continue reading

An Unadvertised Benefit

Bang poink. Bang poink. Bang-ity bang bink poink.

Ya know, revolvers don’t pelt other people with spent brass. Well, OK, they might, in which case the person holding the remains of the revolver needs rapid medical attention because something went terribly and loudly wrong, but in general, revolvers do not send hot brass flying all over the place.

At the moment, I have long fluffy hair, thanks to no hair cut since March and the humidity. Said hair, when worn in my usual “not at Day Job or gym” style, catches spent brass, keeping it out of my shirt collar. I had never had the opportunity to observe this before. Continue reading

The Limits of Technology

I was reading an article about all the electronic wonders in a small aircraft (pilot plus three [skinny and short] passenger small), including dual IFR-rated navigation systems and the assorted displays that go with them. It reminded me of listening to an instructor extol the wonders of a training aircraft with such a complicated Flight Management System (FMS) that the student needed 10 hours of dual instruction in a simulator learning how to work the FMS before the first training flight. I’ve flown the older, non-FMS versions of that aircraft. The only thing students didn’t handle on their first flight was the propeller control [gear shift], and that was only because the owner of the plane had stipulated it.

I think we’re reaching the point of diminishing returns in training aircraft and electronics, at least for the casual pilot. Continue reading

Handwork and Brainwork

I spend my days working with words, shaping them, sorting them, putting them on paper or into teaching speech. That’s what I get paid for. Right now, as I type this, I’m thinking fondly about working on airplane engines and making furniture. Both of those activities require brain power, but they also demand hand power, and produce something you can look at and touch.

I miss that right now. Continue reading

Slow Shift of Seasons

The sun has almost crept far enough south to come in my office windows. It’s touching the bricks of the sloped sill, and soon it will ease in, warming the (long-ignored) cat bed under Athena’s basking platform. We’re not quite a month since the summer solstice, and the mornings are coming later and later, for which I’m quite appreciative. Continue reading

In That Case, You CAN Look

There are certain activities where participants are discouraged from staring at certain things. Like the ears of the horse one is riding. As one riding master I worked with put it, “If the ears fall off, you will have noticed other problems first.” He had a point.

Handbells are another case where staring at the thing is not encouraged. After all, they are a musical instrument, and eyes are to be on the score on the music stand, and on the director (or only on the director, if the music has been memorized.) As long as you feel the weight of the bell or bells in your hand, they are present, accounted for, and don’t need to be studied.

However . . . Continue reading