Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to be a Warrior!

Our friend Tammy, aka Warrior Woman, otherwise known as Robin, and Pam, aka Spike, otherwise known as Batman, and my brother-in-law Mel, aka Mel, have all been diagnosed with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Tammy is sponsoring a team to walk for the Defeat of ALS ~ Tammy's Warriors. Those of you who would like to participate either as a real-life-flesh-and-blood walker or as a virtual walker (like me) on her team, or to simply contribute to the Defeat of ALS, contact Tammy here!
or my personal ALS page here.
Thanx ~ your participation is appreciated! BTW, this is a picture of the Warrior Woman's cool new tattoo...how combative is that! We are on the warpath!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Breaking News!

All the news breaking today is not bad! We are thrilled and excited to be EXPECTING again! (Not me, silly! ~ Another grandchild!) Congratulations to Slick and Jo ~ they are to be commended for their good work! A sib for Da Rhiesling!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seven Hundred Billion Dollars=

One Million Dollars A Day...

For Two Thousand Years....



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rockin' Jake

Guitar Hero is a Big Deal at our house lately. Jacob has a blister on his strummin' thumb that is rapidly becoming a callus! Rock On, Dude!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Playing Tag:

Six unremarkable things about me:

1. I'm really messy. But I usually know where everything is.

2. I don't eat anchovies. They are icky. Or fish with bones in it.

3. I avoid parties--except for family do's.

4. I avoid make-up and high heels, unless I'm going to a party. Or to church.

5. I LOVE pictures from the Hubble telescope, and pictures of my grandkids. Both make me swoon. Do people say that any more? Swoon?

6. I don't like to be licked by dogs, even my dogs.

There it is. I could go on, but I won't. If you want to play, list 6 unremarkable things you would like us to know about YOU!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Be Afraid!

Alright, I admit it! She scares the $^*+ out of me!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

God Bless David

Wednesday, September 11, 2008
-- WE REMEMBER . . .

DAVID PRUDENCIO LEMAGNE, a police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was last seen helping form a human chain that was leading people out of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In the final moments of his young life, he saved two fellow comrades of the PA police and a third civilian security guard. He might have saved himself, but went back to save others.

DAVID graduated as a paramedic in 1994 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Even after becoming a police officer in 2000, he continued to work as a paramedic at the New Jersey City Medical Center, simply because he loved to help people. When the attack occurred on the Twin Towers, he was told to stay put, but moments after the second plane hit, he asked to be sent to the trade towers, because of his training as a paramedic. Having aided and saved many lives in medical crisis, David understood what it meant to be of "Service."

OFFICER LEMAGNE was a notorious prankster, with an infectious grin. He loved jokes. He loved cycling, playing softball and basketball. Those who knew him best said: "I'll never forget that smile of yours or hearing you laugh."

"From time to time I still see you with your basketball, walking to the courts on 67th Street. I see your dad often, and he still cries...."

"I always looked up to you. I knew you for the brave leader you always were and the good friend everyone wishes they had."

"I don't know many people that was like you, David, kind, giving, down to earth, humble, bright, and a real good guy!"

DAVID loved dominoes games, and Bar-B-Ques, and smoking cigars. He loved hanging out at the "Spot," and throwing parties at "Topps."

David was 27 years old. He is survived by his parents, Prudencio and Ruth, and a sister, Maggie. And an entire nation, who appreciates and honors his commitment to his mission and vocation. We still cry.... To OFFICER DAVID PRUDENCIO LEMAGNE, Badge #834, we say, "Well done!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This is it! And Earth retains its ultimate round Blueness. Party on!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Atom Smasher and the God Particle

So. Tomorrow it goes live. The recently canceled Great Experiment is rescheduled for tomorrow. The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland will determine if Higgs boson, the "God Particle," actually exists. Two beams of protons will be set to travel in opposite directions, gaining energy with each lap around the huge circular supercollider, until they smash into each other. There hangs the tale. The result will revolutionize our understanding of physics, anti-matter, mass, the interior workings of atoms, and how the universe began. Scientists will use the LHC to recreate conditions just after the Big Bang. So, things are about to change. Tomorrow.

Or, (more unlikely) they will create a Black Hole that will swallow us all in a flash. Tomorrow. So polish your shoes and comb your hair. And cross your fingers. Either way, I have enjoyed your company!

UPDATE: We are still here! Apparently the beams are going successfully in the same direction and won't be set on a collision course in opposite directions "for some months."


(Sorry the link doesn't want to work...I hope the LHC works better than the link. Google it if you want to know more, or in my blog search bar type the god particle, to see what I wrote earlier this summer.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rough and Ready

Since flesh can't stay, we keep the breath aloft. Since flesh can't stay, we pass the words along." --Erica Jong

"In 1918," writes Jack McGinnis in his little book called RANDSBURG-Southern California's Greatest Gold Camp, "a big silver strike was discovered." And the Kelly mine, where Daddy worked, "was on its way to fame. It was almost unbelievable how rich it was." Other silver mines, the Silver King, Big Four, Silver Glance, Red Warrior, and the Yellow Aster were also booming. A post office was established in 1922. "The miners were calling the town Gin City, and Sin City, and the postal department soon got tired of the confusion, so they settled the name by calling the town 'Red Mountain.' Grandpa was the sheriff, and he wore a silver star on his chest that said so. My brother said he remembered gun shots at night, and always worried about Grandpa. I remember hearing coyotes howl at the moon.

"Red Mountain was a rough and ready town. Saloons were everywhere and this was during prohibition, too. Authorities didn't seem to care and looked the other way. If a raid was planned on Red Mountain, somebody was always tipped off. Girls and liquor were plenty everywhere you went, up and down the main street. Gambling was everywhere. This was really a last frontier town in the west. There were places named the Northern, the Silver Dollar, the Owl, the Shamrock, the Palace, the Stag, and many more. The girls were all young and beautiful. Everybody had fun," McGinnis writes. My brother says, "Red Mountain was an interesting place in which to grow up. I lived there the first fifteen years of my life, and still retain many fond memories of it." He delivered newspapers to the "girls," the prostitutes down on the main street. "They were always nice to me," he remembers. He says, "My dad was the foreman at the Santa Fe mine. He had studied mining engineering through a correspondence course, and I believe he knew more than most engineers. We used to sneak to the edge of the Santa Fe and spit down it until a piece of spit hit one of the miners after gaining several hundred feet of momentum. We got chewed out plenty."

All the mines, Daddy said, were full of Tommyknockers, gremlins who caused cave-ins, who loved to trap miners, and I thought, would surely eat a child whole if one wandered too close to one of the mine shafts. I was interested in Tommyknockers, apparently more than my big brother was! On occasion I did take Daddy's lunch to him, and was lowered down the shaft in a bucket, carrying the food in my lap. The Kelly had a 1400 foot vertical shaft, a head-frame with a large wheel pulley at the top and a hoist house below where a long cable with the bucket extended down into the shaft. I never saw a Tommyknocker, but I loved going down into the mines where it was cool and damp, and smelled of rocks and carbide and old timbers that shored up the tunnel walls and ceilings. Daddy would spit in the lamp on the front of his hard hat and the carbide gave off a gas he lit with a match. The little fire barely lit the rocks walls and the tunnels were shadowy. The fires in the miners headlamps were like little stars.

Daddy came to California from Utah as a young man barely eighteen years old. His father came, too, bringing his fiddle (which, years later and restored, my oldest son would learn to play). Grandpa could make slip-bark whistles, and tie a button over a string so that, wound up, it would hum as the string was pulled tight, then loosened, and pulled tight again, an endless delight to me.

Mama taught me to play "cat's cradle" with a piece of string pulled in patterns from one set of fingers to another. Back and forth. Mama came from Colorado when she was thirteen, a green-eyed little girl with a head full of wild red hair and freckles (which she hated). She had picked cotton all the way across central California, had lived in a cave with her father, her red-haired mother, a red-haired sister named Josie, and a brother named Ray, and she had walked to school in Red Mountain along the very rim of the hill in back of our house, afraid of the wild donkeys that roamed and brayed there, leftovers from the old miner's camps before Red Mountain, Jo'burg, and Randsburg were boom towns. In time, Mama and Daddy met and married, and Mama didn't learn until they'd been married for 50 years that my father had given up what was a promising career as a professional baseball player for love. He LOVED baseball! He once pitched a no-hitter against the famous Satchel Paige, and might've pitched for the Los Angeles Angels, but for love of Mama, and mining. They didn't have much, but they had that. He built the house for her out of railroad ties. They loved each other, and they made beautiful music together, playing for dances at the White House in Randsburg, Daddy on the saxophone, slurring out sweet songs--Mexicali Rose was his favorite--while Mama played the piano. And after my brother was born he went along with them. When he got big enough, 2-years-old or so, he sat up on stage with the band on an upturned Folger's Coffee can, chewed on a make-believe cigar, and drummed alongside the cigar-smoking drummer. (Years later my second son would learn to play his grandfather's sax, and sometimes used it in his own band.)

My brother was an imaginative little boy who liked to dress up as a cowboy, making corrals with sticks and catching horned toads to use as his "horses," or as the "Masked Marvel." He was almost eleven when I was born, and was often recruited to hang out long lines of diapers when Mama needed help. He was a good boy, and a good brother. He went away to High School in Barstow when I was only three or four, and so I only saw him on week-ends and summers. He learned to play the trumpet and took piano lessons and loved model airplanes. He glued together balsa-wood frames, covered them with silk and hung them in the kitchen, and flew them across the desert, airplanes with one set of wings, or with two sets, and propellers, airplanes that smelled of balsa and model glue. And those with real gasoline engines were like birds, alive in his hands.

One picture is my brother and me, the other is my first grade class. I am in the front row, second from the left. First grade is a big deal. My grandson Simon started first grade this week.

(This is for Rick Mobb's son Jason, a story for Bruno: Places We Are From.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


"Our birth
is but a sleep
and a forgetting."

--William Wordsworth

I am
before my mother carried me,
tethered me to earth
with a silver cord,
before I flew prayer feathers
at my Father's knee,
there, where a million moons roll
like black-glass marbles
into the curved valleys of space
before I ever dreamed of earth,
or things of earth: fish
or rocks or bread,
before the luminous waters
of my birth washed me clean,
I am
I always am

--Written for Rick's most wonderful painting yet,painted on English linen and cotton, Supernatural Bridge (Red Shoes).

Monday, September 01, 2008

Heading Toward the Music

See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise on a tropic isle
Just remember, darling, all the while
You belong to me.

See the marketplace in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
But remember when a dream appears
You belong to me.

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too---and blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
Watch the jungle when it's wet with rain
Just remember till you're home again
You belong to me

I am sad to see another of my childhood icons has died. Every Saturday night when I was seven or eight, my folks listened to a musical radio variety show, Your Hit Parade. Jo Stafford was one of the featured girl singers. They also featured a guitar player who could make his guitar cry and say "Maa-maa," which I loved. But I loved Jo Stafford best. If she was supposed to sing, and it was past my bedtime, I begged to stay up long enough to hear her. While it may have had as much to do with my staying up later, I really did want to hear her sing. Time magazine says she was one of the greatest ballad singers of all time. Her popular hit You Belong To Me sold two million copies. She was, says Time, up there in a group that included July Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. During WWII, and even into the Korean War, she performed for servicemen overseas "who felt as if they were home" when she sang. "Although she was a major star, she was a modest person who would have seemed out of place in a limousine. She was like a girl on a bus, always heading toward the music," writes Jonathan Schwartz. Jo Stafford was 90 years old.

For the longest time now, I have gone to bed whenever I damn well please. Good Night, Jo. Sweet dreams.