A Little Spring Bluegrass

Bluegrass is one of those American music hybrids that borrows from anything that can’t get away fast enough. There are very strong elements of Celtic music, African traces, English folk music, and a lot of competition between players. Like the religious music of the Upper South, the element of call and response and “lining out a melody” is strong. Like jazz, improvisation is required. Continue reading


Small Self-Disciplines

“How did you get away with those pants?”

“Because the boss is gone and I’ve been avoiding [assistant manager] all day. Besides, who cares, right?”

I noticed. The first speaker was the only individual working behind the counter who was not wearing crisp, tidy khakis with a brown belt. The speaker wore grey, mid-calf-length pants, no belt, company shirt very loosely tucked with one shirt-tail in the process of escaping. The individual handed me my change and turned away to resume chatting. I counted the coins and bills twice. Continue reading

Friday Familiar: Prof vs. Pollen

Alas, Martin Grayson and pine trees don’t get along. So of course he teaches forestry. In Idaho.

“Ahhh-CHOOO!” Prof. Grayson startled half the class awake. Sniff. “Sorry.” The barn owl occupying the branch perch at the end of Martin’s desk used one light-brown wing to push the university-issue box of lowest-bidder tissues in Martin’s direction, then dozed off again. Martin wiped his nose. The narrator in the video wasn’t the most gripping and charismatic speaker, and the various sub-types of pinus cultivated in North America was not as exciting as the fire videos. More profitable, yes, but at a certain point all needles blurred together, pun intended. Continue reading

The Last Raider goes West

Lt. Colonel Richard “Dick” Cole has gone West. At the young age of 103, the last Doolittle Raider slipped the surly bonds and went to rejoin his fellow raiders. Time to turn over the last cup.

The Doolittle Raiders’ goblets, and the bottle of brandy. An era has passed. Used under Creative Commons fair use. Click photo for link to original. Photo by Raymond Cunningham of the cups, kept at the US Air Force Academy.

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Full of Sound and Fury… Or Not

Virga and real rain.

Spoiler – the rain stayed north of town, at least until after sundown. The blue-purple that is not reaching the ground is what is called virga, meaning a veil. It appears on radar, it looks dramatic in the sky, but it evaporates before it reaches the ground. It can also be very dangerous, because the cool, descending air can turn into a down-burst, a very strong downdraft that churns up dust and smashes airplanes (or flips them if they are not tied down.)

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Monday Familiar: Catfish CME

Even thaumatovets need refresher training… part of Dr. William Lewis and Blackwell’s adventures (and lack thereof) in Denver. Blackwell is a catfish.

The next morning, Blackwell opined, “I think we’d do well to start with the ‘Basics in Review’ presentation, then I’d like to catch ‘Thaumatoveterinary at Forty’.”

Lewis glanced at the schedule. “Sounds good. It’s been a while since we went to rock-bottom basics. And things do change.”

“Agreed.” They joined the line of the elevators. Continue reading