Gerald was the kind of guy who wouldn’t look funny saying, “he was the very model of a modern major general,” or other rhythmic lines from Gilbert and Sullivan. He wore a vest and a bow tie. Every day. He wore starched shirts with the sleeves always buttoned, never rolled up.

He was the first of my new neighbors to say hello. I admit my first impression was that he would be a bit fussy about just about everything, but he turned out to be a very down-to-earth guy. Okay, maybe a bit fussy about his lawn. But he . . .

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Cops on Poop Patrol

Everybody longs for something. I long for cops on poop patrol. The city where I live could rake in thousands of bucks a month if the cops hit the arroyos where the walking trails are every morning and evening and issued tickets to every person walking a dog without a plastic bag in hand for scooping the poop.

There are big signs saying that it is illegal to fail to clean up after your dog. The signs are right above mounds of doggie doo. It’s like walking in a mine field trying to get up the trail without doo on the shoe.

There are TV commercials urging people to keep the river pure by cleaning up the poop that washes right down the arroyos into the river each time . . .

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Fallen Heroes

Ann Richards died. She was one of the few bright spots in the good-ol-boy-morass of Texas politics and a particular heroine of mine. It’s sad news.

She deserves lasting fame simply for uttering, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels.” A concise expression of the whole feminist movement, a short sentence laden with meaning and power. She was an inspiration and a . . .

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Murky Dreams

It was one of those murky dreams that you can’t quite recall in the light of morning. It made me feel good, but it was an illusive feeling. The dream related to things my father liked. I think it was songs he liked, but it may have been something else.

I was with someone, perhaps a childhood friend, who said or sang snippets of things that created such warm feelings about my father. Unlike nightmares, which are all too vivid on waking, this is a scattered and . . .

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A Moral Line

Is there some agreed upon moral line when earning enough money to survive morphs into obscene profits at the expense of the common good?

We need such a moral line so we could clearly agree when its been crossed. Does a coke plant that depleats the entire water supply of a village to produce sugared drinks cross the line? Does a 9 mpg, ozone-destroying vehicle more expensive than many homes cross the line?

What about . . .

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Refresher Course

I need a refresher course on being me, I thought. I don’t understand where this behavior came from–I’ve never acted this way before. I think I just batted my eyelashes. I might actually be simpering. Who am I?

He nibbled at my ear some more and I heard myself giggle. Yes, giggle. Oh, help me Jesus, I thought, I’ve become deranged. I should run away, but instead I snuggled closer . . .

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Forwarding Address

Disappearing is harder than you think. Many parts of your life are neon signs advertising your forwarding address when you move from place to place. If you don’t want to be found in the new place, you have to take extraordinary measures. You have to be ready in advance and you have to plan ahead.

I thought I was ready. I’d been working toward the goal of disappearing for over a year. I traveled thousands of miles to a small place I’d never heard of before. The first morning I was there I went into a coffee shop for breakfast and saw someone I knew walk by on the sidewalk . . .

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My Home Town

Rocky Ford Melons

My home town is famous for its melons. If you’ve ever been anywhere near Southern Colorado in early fall you probably know about Rocky Ford melons. I got all excited the other day when the local Whole Foods had a big display of Rocky Ford melons. Took a photo and posted it at VeeSees, my photo blog, and now a company that sells melon seeds wants to use my photo.

The Internet is making the world a very small . . .

Please leave a comment with your first 50 words on the topic “my home town” or on something the photo suggests.

Rock Star

I just received an advanced copy of the new Joan Osborne CD. It’s a country album called Pretty Little Stranger. Country? Did I say country?

You know that wailing thing she was so good at—a sort of Middle Eastern keening? She still does it, but in a country song. She’s toned down the husky growl and sings like an ordinary every-day good singer, not like the rocker that she once was.

I’m glad she’s trying a new approach, because I like her and she disappeared for a long time, but country? . . .

Please leave a comment with your first 50 words on the topic “rock star.”


Something red not quite under a parked car caught my eye. I slowed my pace a bit and bent down to see what it was. Elmo. Behind the muppet I saw the wide, frightened eyes of a live human girl-child.

I knelt and leaned down to look under the car. “Hi,” I said. “Are you okay?”

No answer, just more fright and less trust in the eyes. She was four–five tops. I stretched out flat on the sidewalk and tried to look nonthreatening. I cursed my decision not to carry my badge while jogging. “Is that your house?” I asked, pointing at the house beside us. . .