Good Book Hunting, Saturday, August 17, 2019: LibraryCon 2019

Subtitle: Daddy’s been a bad, bad boy.

This is my third year going to LibraryCon, a little one day convention that the Springfield Greene-County Library puts together (see also 2017 and 2018). Last year, I bought more books than the previous year. This year? Boy, howdy.

I got a bunch.

We got there while many of the comic book artists were in a conference room, which limited my comic book and graphic novel intake, but it had a larger supply of authors than in years past.

So I got:

  • A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney. The author, from Kansas City, tells me it’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s adventures through the looking glass in Wonderland.
  • A Trial By Error by Susan Eschbach which looks to be a science fiction romance novel. I say this because some of the other books on the writing group’s table were genre/romance books.
  • Several books by Levi Samuel. When I got to his table, I thought he looked familiar, but I didn’t recognize the name or his series. When he waved to milk crates to his right with discounted books, I recognized Dammit Bre. This is the same guy using a pseudonym. Sorry, a nom de plume. So I bought a fantasy trilogy, the Heroes of Order (Izaryle’s Will, Izaryle’s Prison, and Izaryle’s Key) and an urban fantasy book, The Pandora Gambit, to join The Order of the Trident on my to-read shelves. At least these will be at the top.
  • The only two books so far in the Earthborn Legacy series by Matthew S. Devore, Earthborn Awakening and Earthborn Alliance where elves ruled the Earth before being wiped out by an enemy that has now come for man, who allies with a couple of elves who escaped destruction. Sounds interesting with some similar elements to a fantasy novel I started, and the author was a great fellow. I’m looking forward to reading these sometime in the next decade.
  • Two mystery/romances by Barbara Warren, Murder at the Painted Lady and Hidden Danger, from the same table as A Trial By Error Genre/romances and Christian from what one of the placards said.
  • Four books by Elton Gahr: Random Fantasies, a collection of fantasy stories; Random Realities, a collection of science fiction stories; Spaceship Vision: The Impossible Dream, a science fiction novel; and Middlemen: The Brother’s War, part of a fantasy series that is interconnected but not dependent on each.
  • Sharing a table with Gahr was a graphic novel guy, Seth Wolfshorndl. I bought a couple of graphic novels from him, including Rook City (with Gahr as the writer), and Duel! as well as a comic (Evil Ain’t Easy).
  • Comic work by Isaac Crawford, including the graphic novel Seven Dwarfs and Some Odd Tales as well as comics The Musical Mishaps of Cat & Fiddle (1-6) and The Boy and the Dragon.
  • A graphic novel A Passage to Black presented by Cullen Bunn.
  • Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, book one of Eric Shanower’s Trojan War tales.
  • Tales of the ShadowWood, a comic collecting stories about anthropomorphic fox warriors by Margaret Carspecken who also does vivid fine art pictures.
  • Three issues of Zombie Dave that have come out since I last saw Mark Decker.

I would tell you how much I spent, but I don’t want my beautiful wife to find out.

This year was a blast because I talked pretty easily with the authors–so many of them I recognized and whose works I’d enjoyed previously. No Shayne Silvers this year, which is just as well–I haven’t read the second Nate Temple book yet (the first is Obsidian Son).

I stopped by Joshua Clark’s table to say hello and to tell him I’m still looking for the books in his S.T.A.R. Chronicles that I bought two years ago and haven’t yet read. I also told William Schlicter that I had one of his Silver Dragon Chronicles books that I hadn’t read yet, so I was going to bypass his table this year.

And, you know, meeting these people who crank out a couple of books a year made me think about when I thought I was going to be a writer. And maybe they’ve inspired me.

They’ve certainly made me want to end this post so I can go read, so I shall.

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Book Report: The Willow Bees by Lucy Willoughby Jones (1994)

Book coverThis book is a bit of local color. It was written in the early 1990s by a woman who grew up on a farm outside of (but which is probably now in) Nixa, a little town south of Springfield. It recounts very short, three to eight paragraph slice-of-life memories about farm work, socializing, family relationships, and whatnot interspersed with numerous poems composed by the author, her family, or those in her social circle.

It was a pleasant read, and it made me consider writing something like this about my life. I mean, I’ve seen some things, and as a child of the last century, I have seen enough change that some of it would be novel to kids of today or tomorrow.

Assuming that any of them would want to read it.

At any rate, I enjoyed the book as you might expect. The author comes from a large family, and sometimes she name checks families who participated in an event or attended a (one room) school in Lone Hill (the actual town she lived in or near). When I read the list of names here (and in Unto These Hills), I wonder why the names of my relations from the Ozarks are not represented. But then I remember that they’re from Taney County further south and, in the early part of the last century, a whole world away.

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Amid The Ruins

As you know, gentle reader, I very rarely put down a book that I own and think that I will never, ever read the book completely.

I mean, aside from the sets and encyclopedias I have about (some of which I have a flicker of hope I will read from end to end like A.J. Jacobs).

But if I start a book and I’m not really into it or if it stagnates on a book accumulation point for too long (which is often years), I’ll throw it back on the to-read shelves for another go when twenty years from now or whenever I’m down to it, my last book.

But I have recently (which means in the last two years) come across a couple of books like The Ruins and the complete stories of Algernon Blackwood that I will not bother to read, and both of them I knew very, very early.

The first, on the right, is Mark Merlis’ Man About Town. I picked that up last year at some point. I got that it was a Washington book, a novel about the goings on in the capital. The book started on in a Congressional hearing or something, and the narrator is an aide of some sort or policy expert. The narrator talked about his lover who had one of those ambiguous names that could be a boy or a girl, and a little while later it was revealed to be a boy. Okay, so the narrator’s gay. You know, I used to volunteer with a gay theatre company, and I have a certificate from one production proclaiming me to be the token straight man. So I’m not a flaming homophobe. But a couple pages later, the narrator is fantasizing about sex with a senator, and I’m gonna trust my squick on this one and put it down. Perhaps the author was hoping to shock the bourgeoisie, perhaps not, but I don’t want to read that. I’m in favor of keeping your private life private, and this book was not trending that direction early. As I mentioned, I started it last year and put it down shortly thereafter, and it’s remained on my paperback shelves where I put books and videos to donate and give away (it’s sitting there with the VHS version of Hitchcock’s Secret Agent which I tried to watch in March and found I also have on DVD). So the media accumulate there slowly, and I dispense of them as donations slower still.

But the small stack has this week been joined by Dark Star, a self-published novel about a murder mystery that erupts when a Hollywood lawyer/agent gives a new young lady a contract. I would read you the back material, which is the best edited part of the book. I started reading it, and it is bar none the worst-edited self-published novel I have ever encountered. It was so bad that I wondered if it was like the first part of The Sound and the Fury, told by an idiot, but the narrator is supposed to be a highly place attorney, for crying out loud. I read three pages of it, and I determined it was too much work amid the misspellings, grammatical errors, and Emily Dickinson capitalization to try to gut through the book in case it had an interesting plot.

So now I’m up to four books I’ve given up on as irredeemable. I feel like I’m getting awfully critical in my old age.

So to the top of my paperback bookshelves you go. To be donated to a church garage sale sometime in 2024 or when I get around to it.

Oh, and coincidentally, both of these books are dollar books from Hooked on Books. One has the red dot that they used to do and the other has the $1.00 sticker over the UPC that is the new paradigm. Come to think of it, The Ruins might also have come from Hooked on Books on the cheap rack. Perhaps I should not spend so much time (but not money!) there.

Also note that, although I gave up on The 1838 Mormon War In Missouri after a couple of paragraphs, that was a library book and completely different in this context.

Thank you, that is all.

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Book Report: Platoon by Dale A. Dye (1986)

Book coverThis book is the novelization of Oliver Stone’s Academy Award-winning screenplay. I’ve never actually seen the film, and I really haven’t watched a lot of Vietnam movies As I mentioned, I have seen the television program Tour of Duty and Forrest Gump, which is not really a Vietnam movie. I’ve also seen The Siege of Firebase Gloria (“That’s it, Nardo. The story’s over.”) and Apocalypse Now. But Platoon seemed to kick off a number of Vietnam films in the 1980s like Full Metal Jacket and Hamburger Hill (and including The Siege of Firebase Gloria). But I just never got into it. Kids in the 1980s didn’t get into playing Vietnam soldier like previous generations played World War II soldier.

So as a novelization of the screenplay, the book takes advantage of it and suffers from the disadvantages of the printed word. Let’s go with the disadvantages first: One, it’s an ensemble piece with a lot of different characters who are identified by name and a single distinguishing feature, and it is easy to confuse them (and the author refers to the protagonist both by his first name and his last name in different places, so you have to remember that these names are both one guy). On screen, that’s easy to see.

Another thing is that what must have been the spectacle of the film is lost a little.

But we do get more interior lives of the characters which the film would not convey; on the other hand, that turns a couple of seconds of screen time into a page or more.

So what’s the plot? The usual. A green recruit, a literate and educated young man, joins a platoon in the field where he gets mundane duties, gets into firefights, learns, sees death, and ultimately takes part in a pitched battle with massive casualties on both sides.

Not poorly executed, but mostly noteworthy as a study of turning a screenplay into a novel.

You know, I have a set of Tour of Duty DVDs–did I buy them for my father and then inherit them? Not likely–I think I bought them later. But I don’t know that I’m inspired to dive into Vietnam media based on this book alone. Unless the Marcinko books count.

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You Do Have To Show Them The Way

The Bank of Missouri has a series of ads with bankers inserted into various situations to illustrate that they’re more than bankers. They’re part of your community or something. One depicts a banker holding a fire hose along with the firefighters. So I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be all metaphor or not.

But this one spoke to me:

The banker is not awarding the kid first base for a walk. The banker is reminding the kid to go to first base.

Friends, with the young ones, this is often the case.

As I mentioned, I coached a little league team for a season, and I was the loud coach. I cheered for all the boys, and I shouted instructions all the time.

One of the most common instructions was “Run, run, run!” which I shouted when the batter made contact with the ball. Otherwise, the youngsters were prone to gape in wonder at what they’d done and to get thrown out or tagged out easily.

Hey, I know the feeling. I had the same reaction the first time I made contact with the ball in a league softball game. Although I was nineteen at the time. And this occurred a couple of minutes before I took a fly ball to the face resulting in an ambulance ride and my getting thrown out of the league because I was an injury risk. But just so.

My second most-shouted instruction was “Get it! Get it! Get it!” when an opposing batter made contact with the ball. Because they would often stand agape at that turn of events as well.

I don’t know how many of those kids benefited from my volume, but if none of them did, I must attribute it to the fact that I did not wear a suit with a green tie that is visible from space. Clearly, I was not taking it seriously. Why should they?

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Two Indicators I’m Getting Older

So the other night we went to a local bar and grill for dinner.

My boys were thrilled with the fact that they have video games and whatnot that they could mess with while awaiting the food.

I remembered the days of my own youth, although I didn’t hang around suburban bar and grills with a clean, urban industrial aesthetic. My father took me to taverns with scarred furniture and smoke. But they had video games, and they had pinball machines, and they had pool tables where I could roll the cue ball back and forth. So I know the little sense of freedom one gets from roaming around them.

At the bar, three male friends sang, in unison, something I recognized but couldn’t immediately place. One of them had brought his girl, and when they finished, one of the guys high-fived the other and then was left hanging by the girl who was amused by the men’s behavior in that way that they sometimes are and maybe are not, actually. These guys weren’t twenty, either–definitely in their thirties or older.

The next day, I placed the song. The Numa Numa guy.

From 2004. So these guys were definitely not kids.

You know what made me feel old most of the experience? The two things:

  • It took me a day to place the Numa Numa song.
  • I am no longer the kind of man who hangs out with friends at a bar and grill and gives high fives for silly things. I mean, I do athletic things, so I give high fives, don’t get me wrong. But they’re for doing some drill at martial arts or running some distance.

Actually, you know what makes me feel old most of all? Getting older.

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One Asterisk Guarantee

So I was looking at the Smooth Jazz Cruise 2021 because Keiko Matsui lists the 2020 cruise on her tour dates page, and my beautiful wife has been jonesing for a cruise for about a decade now. Unfortunately, the 2020 cruise with Keiko Matsui is sold out, and she does not appear on the 2021 roster.

But, Brian J., aren’t you more of a 70000 Tons of Metal cruise kind of guy? To be honest, they have not announced their 2020 music lineup yet, and I’ve already mentioned this as a possibility to Mrs. Noggle, and she was so hungry for a cruise that she entertained the possibility.

But the Smooth Jazz 2021 Cruise includes a number of artists I wouldn’t mind seeing, including:

I recognize some of the other names, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them.

Given the confluence of the aforementioned circumstances (wife wants a cruise, jazz acts I like to see are on the cruise), I clicked through to the pricing information, and I noted that, in addition to prices that made me go, “Erm,” we have this “guarantee”:

It’s billed as a No Fee Guarantee, but it says it’s really only one fee of $350.

It’s been a while since I took a logic class, but one fee is the direct opposite of no fee.

Ah, well. It’s not as though I was really going to book this cruise. Fortunately for me, my wife does not read this blog and will not be disappointed with this revelation at the end.

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Clearly, My Children Cannot Trust Anything I Tell Them

When we have gone to Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri’s theme park, I have told my boys that it is named after the Yocum silver dollar.

However, this story about Marvel cave in the Springfield News-Leader tells it differently:

Silver Dollar City opened in 1960 and was named such for a promotional idea.

“While little was spent on advertising, publicist Don Richardson’s idea of giving silver dollars as change to park visitors led to tremendous word-of-mouth exposure,” according to Silver Dollar City. “When vacationers returning home would pay for their gas and other purchases with silver dollars, people would ask where they got the coins, and the vacationers would describe the park and their Silver Dollar City adventure.”

Wikipedia agrees.

However, I still prefer to think that Don Richardson had the Yocum silver dollar in mind when he came up with the promotion and that that bit of knowledge has been lost.

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Want To Get Away?

The British press has a number of remote and/or secure locations profiled this week.

Uninspiring grey brick fort tower hides an amazing interior inside:

From the outside it looks like nothing more than drab, brick-built fort and a relic of Britain’s military past.

But step inside this 19th century tower and it’s a totally different story.

Martello Tower Y, tucked away on a quiet stretch of Sussex coastline, was built for a Napoleonic invasion that never came.

It was meant to repel the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and as such dates back to the early 19th century.

But a complete refurbishment in 2010 has seen the property scoop a number of architectural and design awards, with English Heritage labelling the renovation as “exemplary”.

It has been described as “one of the most original and soul-stirring modern homes in Britain” – and it could be yours for a cool £1.25million.

The three-bedroom home has a completely re-sculpted interior which perfectly blends period features with modern, contemporary architecture.

It even has a modern-day drawbridge as well as a wrap-around roof terrace so buyers can take in that stunning seaside view, which is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Magnificent Gothic 10-bed Welsh castle with 31 acres and stunning views of Snowdonia on sale for £2.85m:

Glandyfi Castle, set on a 31-acre estate overlooking the stunning Snowdonia mountains in Wales, is nothing less than a fairytale property – if it’s within your budget.

The 10 bedroom Gothic-style property is fitted with an octagonal tower, an imperial staircase and a pink marble fireplace.

Commanding a clifftop position and overlooking the Dovey Estuary and Snowdonia mountains, this magnificent castle is the perfect romantic property.

The breathtaking castle built from stone has recently undergone a major renovation, with a new glass roof for the courtyard and modern kitchen design.

Couple swap four-hour city commute for abandoned island:

An Irish couple have ditched city living and relocated to an abandoned island off the coast of Co Kerry – but say they are loving every minute of it.

Lesley Kehoe, 27, and Gordon Bond, 29, are said to be the only inhabitants at An Blascaod Mor, the largest part of The Great Blasket Islands, located off the coast of Co Kerry.

Tired of spending four hours commuting from Kildare to the Dublin everyday, the couple made the life-changing decision to move island which has been abandoned since 1954.

Lesley told the Irish Sunday Mirror : “I have always been interested in the Great Blasket Islands – I wrote my thesis about their heritage.

“As part of my research Gordon and I went out there and we stayed in one of the cottages.

“We just fell in love with the place and in January I saw a Facebook post advertising a job looking after the hostel there.

I don’t think I’d like to manage a hostel or a wedding and event venue. But the castle would be a treat, even if it sits on only 31 acres. I would feel like a marcher lord.

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Book Report: A Dangerous Man by Robert Crais (2019)

Book coverIt’s very rare for me to read a book written in the last couple of years, so it says something when I read a book in its week of release. Robert Crais is the only author that can claim that honor, slight that it be. Well, if you search for Robert Crais on this blog, you’ll see that’s not always true. It might actually only be true for this book.

The plot: Joe Pike runs into a crime in progress (like The Sentry) and helps a young lady that Joe Pike might develop feelings for (like The Sentry). She has a crush on him before the crime in progress and is pleased when he comes to her rescue. However, bad guys have been searching for a relation of the young lady (like in The Sentry). And Joe Pike and Elvis Cole have to figure out who has it out for her (is this, too, like The Sentry? I don’t mention it in the book report, but presumably so).

So maybe it was really like that other book, but I haven’t read it in six years, so it was fresh enough for me. But binge readers might find it a repeat.

The book has quick, modern pacing with lots of dialog and short paragraphs which contrasts with Platoon, the book I am currently reading as well as other literature and novels over forty years old. The book also shifts viewpoints, which is pretty standard for thrillers nowadays as well. But these devices really keep the action flowing along.

So I enjoyed it, and I expect I will get the next book right when it comes out. Well, my beautiful wife will, and I will read it when she finishes it. Which is not long, as I finished the book four days after it came out.

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What I Did This Weekend

You know, I often get to the end of the weekend and wonder just what I did and how I wasted my time instead of accomplishing big projects or big personal goals. So, in the interests of my own sanity, allow me to bore you with the details of what I did so that some years in the future, I can return to this post and perhaps feel some satisfaction that I did not waste all my weekends.


Saturday morning, I did the Republic Tiger Triathlon (super sprint) and took my kids to a martial arts class.

After that, we went to the local pizza buffet for lunch; after that, I napped.

When I got up about 1:30, we had a Family Meeting that lasted about 40 minutes.

Then I spent fifty minutes applying the third coat of paint to my third set of record shelves.

I rested a bit, and a little after 4:00, I went swimming with my family in the backyard pool for the first time this year.

We had pasta for dinner, and after winding the chores down for the night, I read a bit and went to bed at about 9:00.


On Sunday, we went to church for early service; as it is the summer schedule, we didn’t stay for Sunday school and were home by 10:00.

I took an early nap.

After the nap, I moved some furniture as my boys have moved to separate rooms again.

I also moved some wall art around as my beautiful wife had just bought some things to hang in the guest room, and we moved them to the master bedroom and moved the existing master bedroom art around.

We then went shopping for a bit, looking at Best Buy for a reliable-looking cheap record player. All they had was the same unit that I just bought which failed after a couple months, and it was more expensive than Amazon. We picked up some groceries as well.

I grilled some burgers, and we assembled a meal for a family for church with an ailing member. My wife and boys ran the food over, and we had dinner.

I moved the new record shelves indoors and filled them with overflow LPs. I also took our box sets out of storage, and it looks as though I will need one more if I want to unbox my mother’s pop records or move Heather’s folk LPs upstairs. Or if I plan on buying new records ever again.

After dinner, I finished the chores and read a bit and talked with my oldest son, who has discovered James Lileks’ Mommy Knows Worst and thinks it’s funny. I got to bed about 10:00.


So that’s how the weekends pass. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing Civ IV, as I do on some weekends, but it passed nevertheless with chores and normal activity.

I did bring some projects to fruition: I completed my third Tiger Triathlon, but I didn’t end up doing the longer distance Sprint length, which is good, as I have not trained for it much, and it wore on me.

I finished the record shelves, but I started them three weeks ago, and they’ve been in my driveway for a couple weeks awaiting the complete paint job. So I didn’t take a real sense of accomplishment out of simply clearing my driveway.

And so it goes. Tempus fugit.

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The Other Poetry Man

I’m not referring to my cousin-in-law; I’m referring to this cover of the Phoebe Snow song by Jessy J:

It loses a bit without the lyrics, but it’s still a pleasant melody.

I have not been listening to the DirecTV streaming music stations as all the remotes from the entertainment center have been confiscated until the males in the household behave themselves. Instead, I’ve been listening to music from my music library, and I’ve really started to enjoy Jessy J’s Tequila Moon which means that I’ll have to get some more Jessy J albums in the future.

(As a reminded, I have spoken about Phoebe Snow’s rendition of “Poetry Man” here, and I actually touched the album once.)

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Another Victorious Turn At 1984

So last night, we went to the local arcade 1984, and I again made the leader board on two different games, although it might look like I was going in alphabetical order:

I found that you didn’t even have to get through the second level on Space Invaders to beat the default high score. And I got a higher score on Spyhunter than I did in 2017, and as a bonus, I got it when I was showing one of my son’s friends how to play the game.

I beat my previous high score on Elevator Action, but the current high score was almost 20,000, and I only got about 16,000. I also tied the high score for Omega Race right as we were leaving; perhaps I’ll focus on that one next year as it looks pretty easy to play and perhaps dull enough that the cool kids leave it alone.

Although it looks like 1984 thinned out its selection of games a little bit. Perhaps as part of opening a location in Branson this year. And the price has gone up. Still, ten bucks for a couple of hours of video game time is worth it as long as you, you know, play the video games. I think I again spent most of my time wandering around looking at video games.

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Book Report: Blood Run The Executioner #133 (1990)

Book coverI was disappointed with the last Executioner book of the 1980s, but this, the first of the 1990s (well, the last year of the 1980s decade, 1990, but let us not quibble) was pretty good.

In it, Bolan and his brother Johnny are given the task of taking a high profile witness from Florida to LA to testify against the cocaine king of Colombia who has been arrested on US soil while trying to set up a mega buy. the DEA fears leaks in its forces, so they ask Justice for help, and Brognola knows just the guys. So the Bolans take off cross-country with every hood and gang looking for them, including members of the KKK, a vicious Texas biker gang, and the Arizona mob.

So, yeah, it shares a plot with The Gauntlet and its reboot-before-reboots-were-a-thing 16 Blocks, but it’s executed pretty well. The action flows between the subplots, and this author uses the shifting viewpoint trick to build suspense. The characters didn’t pull any real boners and acted according to their natures.

The text, though, had a couple of sour notes. They talk about driving through Texas as though it was a desert starting at the Louisiana border; even though I’ve only been to Texas once and through Texas a couple times by plane, I know that Deep East Texas is like an extension of Louisiana. That’s the one that stuck with me, but a couple other cast-off lines were not true.

Still, of the, what, seven? Executioner books I’ve read this year, this one might be the best (although War Born was pretty good, too). So I will keep on with the series, probably with a couple more this year as time passes, with the renewed hope that every so often they’ll be actually good and not just the book equivalent of episodic network television.

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The Sounds of the Passage of Time

As I often mention, gentle reader, I live my life with a bit of a double-effect narrator in my head. Even when I am in the moment, I recognize that right now will someday be a memory, so I tend to reflect on right now as though it has already passed even as it is passing. Perhaps that’s why I read so much Buddhism and Stoicism: they justify the way I already experience the world.

As such, certain sounds have always heightened this experience. One is the passage of wind through full trees.

I remember very acutely sitting on the back steps of the house down the gravel road. The back steps were really just three concrete steps from the door at the back of the garage. We didn’t have a deck. We didn’t even have a stoop. Just three concrete steps.

The steps looked out on the back yard. We had an acre or two, but only about one of it was level and clear; the remainder, across the creek, climbed up our slice of a hill and was heavily wooded. It was summer, about sunset, but it was already darkening on the eastern side of the hill. I was back from college for a couple of weeks, as most of my break time was spent in Wisconsin, working and going to festivals. I closed my eyes as the summer breeze tousling the treetops and recognized that my college years, my youth, were passing like that wind.

I’ve closed my eyes from time to time when sitting out on my back decks in Casinoport and here at Nogglestead when the wind has moved through full trees, and I could almost reach through the years and feel exactly as I did then, whether the then was sitting on those concrete steps at age twenty or underneath the crab apple trees at age thirty or the glider at age forty-five. To know I would likely again sit with my eyes closed and listen to the wind in the trees sometime in the future and remember now. I feel eternity a bit, I think, when I do.

About the same time as I was sitting on those back steps, Sting’s “Fields of Gold” hit the radio.

It was 1993, and I was about to finish up college. I was mooning over a girl who didn’t care for me, as was often the case in those years, so the thought of a love was a hopeful speculation at that point. But the song has the double-effect narrator who recognizes that the profound, eternal loves of youth pass like the wind through barley.

When I hear that song, as I did yesterday, I feel the very same melancholic nostalgia that I do every time–the same as when I first heard the song, before I had anything to really feel nostalgia for.

And when I hear it in the future, even if it’s just reviewing this post in the days or years to come, I will feel the same, and the connection to my youth and my now (which will be my youth when I’m older).

Even if my life isn’t facing a big transition as it was then (from college to post-college), these sounds remind me of the passage of time, and that I will transit to different things in my life and will only remember now, maybe, then.

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Two stories on the front page of today show a bit of false equivalency.

AOC rips McConnell over pic of young men in ‘Team Mitch’ shirts ‘groping & choking’ cutout of her:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night after a photo surfaced on social media, showing a group of young men “groping and choking” a cardboard cutout of the freshman congresswoman — while wearing shirts that read “Team Mitch.”

“Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll,” she asked, “or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?”

Protesters shout death threats outside Mitch McConnell’s home:

Gun control supporters stood outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home in Kentucky on Sunday night — protesting and hurling death threats at him — while broadcasting on Facebook Live.

“Murder Turtle!” the demonstrators can be heard shouting on video, in reference to McConnell’s infamous nickname.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” a person says at one point, while the others continue to yell.

“The bitch home — we keep seeing the lights go on and off,” another says. “This hoe really thought he was going to get ready to be at home after he hurt his little punk ass shoulder. Bitch, don’t nobody give a f–k! F–k your thoughts and prayers, Mitch. F–k you, f–k your wife, f–k everything you stand for.”

One is shenanigans, and one is an attempt to threaten and intimidate.

Some people would like for us to think they’re the same, but they are not.

Also, the distinguished gentlewoman is probably to young to remember this:

Jon Favreau, the 27-year-old speechwriter to Barack Obama, was photographed with his hand on the, er, lower shoulder of a cardboard cutout of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton.

Or maybe she is hoping that her audience is. And she might be right.

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The Almost Fallen Apple Trees of Nogglestead

As you might know, gentle reader, when I first moved to Nogglestead, I began planting an orchard of pear, apple, peach, and cherry trees.

It has not been particularly rewarding. To make a short story long, deer ringed the apple trees the first year–they stripped bark all the way around the trees, which killed them. I replaced them and resuscitated one, only to discover the signs of life it showed came from the crab apple root stock and not the grafted eating apple part of the tree. Then, we’ve had cold winters, late freezes, droughts, and Japanese beetles so that I did not get any yield even almost a decade later.

Until this year, when we have had a moderate summer and a wet spring which apparently kept the beetles at bay. The harvest of the peach trees in the front was small peaches and just enough for me to snack on them when I went out to the mailbox and back. Growing fruit here is a little like Edge of Tomorrow; every year, we get a little closer, but something gets the harvest.

Like a derecho wind this spring that blew through the Nogglestead side yard, where it knocked over a couple of apple trees and sent a large tree crashing against one of our side light posts, destroying it.

The apple trees were pushed over, but they were still alive. Until the deer came along and could suddenly reach all the leaves.

But I see that, in addition to the remaining a couple of small apples (hopefully, not crab apples, it has sprouted some new leaves.

I’m not sure what I am to do with the tree and its smaller fallen brother closer to the woods. Perhaps in the spring, I will hook it up to my truck or my tractor (lawn mower, but I don’t feel as rural if I admit that) to try to stand it up or continue to let it grow crooked.

Probably the latter, as I am lazy.

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